As the betting industry in Ukraine prepares for major legislative progress in the first quarter of 2020, Maksym Liashko, Partner at Parimatch, one of the leading online betting brands in the CIS region, explores the proposed regulations, the country’s ‘progressive’ emphasis on virtual and eSports, and why the term gambling could be set to change in the coming decade…
Ukraine is set to enter a new age in 2020 as the country’s Cabinet of Ministers prepares to consider the latest gambling reform bill in mid-January following a request for revisions to the text in December. Liashko, who is responsible for legal matters at Parimatch, is positive about the prospect of gaming regulation in the region stating he believes the law will be fully adopted within the coming two months.
The previous version of the draft law proposed a new license system for betting operators with limited numbers across casinos, bookmakers, and only 10 for online operators, covering both sports betting and online casinos. Commenting on possible amendments to this in the most recent version of the bill, Liashko said: “According to the MPs` discussions during the round tables, there will be no restrictions on the number of licenses for a particular type of activity, with the exception of lotteries since this type of activity is defined as state lotteries. Here the choice is made directly of the lottery operator. And the remaining sectors won’t be limited by the number of licenses. The draft law is expected to be re-voted on first reading in January.”
If the new bill is passed, any new licenses will be available for every sector excepting lotteries and slots which will be obtained through electronic auctions via a project established by the Cabinet of Ministers, which Liashko believes is fair in guaranteeing the best operators success in a new market. “In the last agreed edition, which was submitted and presented in parliament by deputies (a certain agreed compromise document), a competitive procedure was established for operators of the state lottery, as well as electronic auctions for operators of slot machines,” he explained. “For all the others, any restrictions on the number of licenses and auctions were cancelled. In general, we believe that the electronic auction is a fair method of distributing the limits of slot machines in the country. The final question is only in conditions. To win in such an auction, the price is important. Other supporting tools are the subject of an interest in how they will be evaluated. If it is only a price, then it will be a simple and transparent mechanism. The base for such auctions in Ukraine already exists.”
As the country prepares to open its doors to the wider gambling industry, the intricacies of the local market are a key point of attention for Parimatch as a leading betting brand in the region. Focussing on how to ensure Ukraine’s regulatory systems are workable and future proof, Liashko commented: “I believe it is necessary to use the experience that other jurisdictions have. It should be understood that Ukraine has its own legal traditions, and most importantly its own domestic issues and some negative traditions associated with state regulation and the state’s habits in Ukraine to be directed towards tight control rather than development.
“Based on this, the use of all those methods of control of GGR and other methods that are used in European countries may be premature for Ukraine. Rather, you need to give priority to fixed, very high payments for a license, to abandon the practice of paying tax from the GGR, and leave only income tax. The presence of a fixed payment will make it possible to avoid all possible disputes with regulatory authorities, which in Ukraine are quite a large number. When in other jurisdictions a question arises with accrued bonuses, canceled bets, etc., you look for compromises with the governing bodies. In Ukraine at the moment there is no expertise in this matter since there was no gaming industry as such.”
In terms of Parimatch’s position in this potential new landscape, the company is keen to establish a strong and sustainable status in the market focusing on security and customer safety. “At Parimatch, we take into account and work a lot with BI in order to understand the interests of the client first of all. We individually tailor their preferences,” Liashko said. “We find the following issues the most important to develop and introduce to our clients: full remote identification; automatic data analysis to prevent fraud; interactive interfaces for communication with the client; automation of decision-making and cyber defense. We also hope that the new legislation in Ukraine will contribute to this, and not force us to fill out paper forms.”
“Technology will change everything,” he added. ‘Over the next decade, I think such key changes will occur several times. In this context, the legislation in Ukraine is quite progressive, since now the projects include the regulation of virtual sports, eSports betting, virtual events with unpredictable results. This already provides the basis for the technological development of fast content for the gaming industry. At the same time, Internet technologies and the volume of data transfer of devices are developing quite widely. This will allow the gaming industry to reach a whole new level of entertainment.”
He concluded: “When entertainment will prevail in all spheres of the gaming industry in principle. The word “gambling” itself may lose its relevance and becomes entertainment, as we have seen this trend in Europe over the past few years.”
AOJND, President Odeta Nestor – Clarifications Regarding Information Appeared in the Media
BUCHAREST – Odeta Nestor, President of the Association of Remote Gambling Operators (AOJND), has provided insights into the current state of the remote gambling sector in Romania.
Asociatia Operatorilor de Jocuri de Noroc la Distanta (AOJND) represents the principal licensed remote gambling operators in Romania. “AOJND maintains ongoing dialogue with authorities to find the most optimal legislative and regulatory solutions, catering to the interests of gamblers, the industry, and the Romanian economy at large,” asserted Odeta. “In this role, our activities align with other trade associations in various industries operating legally in Romania, whether in banking, telecommunications, or HORECA.”
Regarding the draft law currently under discussion in the Chamber of Deputies, initiated by Deputy Alfred Simonis, Odeta clarified, “We have not taken any stance as it contains no provisions regarding the activities of remote gambling operators.”
Since the establishment of the National Gambling Office (ONJN) in 2013, priority has been accorded to eradicating unfair competition from unlicensed and unauthorized operators. “In our view, the black market is now at its lowest since the revolution, as there are legal controls and regulations in place,” emphasized Odeta.
Odeta added that in Romania, only local operators or those from the European Union or the European Economic Area can hold operating licenses. “Their activities are strictly monitored by the National Gambling Office, which has direct access to game servers through a dedicated platform. Moreover, operators maintain mirror and backup servers on Romanian territory, complying with existing legal provisions.”
She emphasized that all systems undergo audits by independent bodies licensed by the Romanian state, ensuring that transactions are correctly recorded and all safety and responsible gambling standards are met. “Currently, remote gambling adheres to the highest standards of transparency and integrity, with a 100% tax collection rate.”
Odeta praised the progress made in the regulatory landscape of online gambling since 2013, with Romania now being cited as a benchmark for best practices in the sector, having 30 licensed operators for remote gambling.
She pledged the association’s full cooperation to the Romanian Government to thwart the advent of illegal offshore operators and to improve public perception of the sector. “We also agree more needs to be done to protect players and to promote gambling as a form of entertainment, not a get-rich-quick scheme.”
Odeta also highlighted the industry’s initiatives in responsible gambling, preventing abusive gaming, and addiction, with AI systems and strict measures against underage access. “Remote gambling operators report all suspicious transactions to the relevant authorities and maintain a continuous collaboration with law enforcement agencies.”
In conclusion, Odeta assured authorities of the remote gambling operators’ willingness to collaborate in regulating the domain and enhancing its public perception.
Betera and Spinmatic united in the Belarusian market
Spinmatic, B2B developer and supplier of outstanding casino games, has signed a recent partnership with the Belarusian online casino, Betara. Set to significantly augment their reach in the Belarusian market, this collaborative alliance seamlessly integrates Betera’s long-standing industry presence with Spinmatic’s premium casino games, assuring an exceptional gaming experience for players throughout the region.
Pavel Chernik, Head of Gambling Products at Betera, stated: “This collaboration holds great promise for both parties involved, and we are excited about the opportunities it will bring. We’re sure that our players will enjoy the superior slot games developed by Spinmatic with their attractive graphics and animations, and we truly believe that this partnership will be highly beneficial for both companies.”
Norbert Mathies, Managing Director at Spinmatic, shared: “I am very proud of my team, which continues spreading our premium casino games through new, interesting markets. It is a privilege to work with Betera and I am sure both companies will set an incredible offer for Belarus’ players.”
In this exciting new chapter, Spinmatic will introduce captivating titles such as Cosmo Mix, Book of Eon, and Boss Vegas, along with 23 other thrilling games, all made possible through this empowering partnership.
BETER Live partners with FAVBET in major boost to operator’s live casino offering
BETER Live’s suite of premium games now available at popular Eastern European brand
BETER Live, the live casino division of the betting content and data provider BETER, has joined forces with the popular online sportsbook and casino brand, FAVBET.
From now on, BETER Live will provide FAVBET with a portfolio of authentic and interactive live casino titles in markets across Eastern Europe. This includes more than 20+ games and variations covering Roulette, Blackjack, Gravity Blackjack, Gravity Roulette and Ukrainian Roulette.
Game presenters have been trained to the highest possible standards and also know how to provide an engaging player experience, chatting with players throughout their time at the table.
FAVBET recently launched a UA Roulette table, powered by BETER Live, which has been tailored to meet the specific preferences of Ukrainian players. The new localized game has already found a response among players, showing a near 40% higher conversion rate and 4x more organic traffic compared to the provider’s regular roulette.
BETER Live has emerged as a must-have live casino provider for operators looking to not only meet but exceed player expectations. Therefore, even though the partnership between BETER Live and Favbet Live started not so long time ago, they are already preparing to launch something that will strengthen their collaboration in the long run.
Anna Vikmane, Director of BETER Live, said: “We are delighted to share the news of another successful partnership between BETER Live and a leading operator, FAVBET. It is one of the most recognised brands in the Ukrainian market and one that players trust.
Localisation is key to FAVBET’s success, and we have been able to work with the operator to ensure our content delivers a localised player experience. Shortly after we launched our first games and FAVBET could see they were a big hit with its customers, we rolled out Ukrainian Roulette – the operator’s first step towards a dedicated offering for the market“.
“BETER Live is successfully blazing a trail in the live casino space and we are excited to have added its games to our portfolio, allowing us to provide a fully localised experience to our players and to stand out from our rivals. BETER Live has earned a reputation for delivering quality and its live casino titles really are second to none.
We now look forward to working closely with BETER Live to continue to enhance our live casino offering and have many exciting products and updates in the pipeline”, – commented FAVBET.
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