Connect with us
SOFTSWISS

Eastern Europe

Ukrainian gambling: to be, or not to be, that is (already not) the question

Published

on

Photo by Denys Rodionenko on Unsplash
Reading Time: 4 minutes

 

This article has been created with the help of its author, Oleksandr Aleksyeyenko (Partner at Marchenko Partners) and Sviatoslav Henyk (Senior Associate at Marchenko Partners)

After significant and protracted deliberations, Ukraine finally legalized gambling activities back in 2020. The Law on the governance of the organization and carrying out of gambling activities became effective almost half a year ago. As of the date of writing this article, already 3 licenses have been granted to online casinos for their gambling activities to be performed in the future.

There is still a number of issues and, despite all efforts, the gambling market seems to be standstill except for the mentioned minor movements by local online players obtaining licenses. As of now, it seems that no big international market players are entering the newly born Ukrainian gambling market. So, let`s discuss whether it is all going somewhere and if that somewhere is in the right direction.

 

Ukrainian gambling market background

To see a broader picture, one should unveil the historical background of the current gambling market legalization in Ukraine. First of all, it’s worth mentioning that the Ukrainian gambling market has been actually reopened, but not developed from scratch.

The previously operating Ukrainian gambling market was not so much a success story as one might imagine. There were no huge and fancy casinos like in Las Vegas, but rather a market consisting of different establishments, some of them even legal and compliant. They were shut down by decisive moves of the state authorities in 2009 due to the lack of comprehensive regulations and effective control over their execution, which irreversibly led to negative consequences. As a result, the mentioned flaws contributed to the growth of black and grey gambling services markets. Moreover, the lack of strict rules and their enforcement also formed a public opinion that the gambling market was something antisocial and dirty. Ukrainians still remember well those times when slot machine halls literally surrounded public transport stops and were filled with some not exactly wealthy people giving up their last money in pursuit of a snatch.

At that time, Ukrainian authorities decided to use muscles instead of brains and banned all gambling activities instead of introducing reasonable regulation and taking the situation under control. Thus, starting from mid-2009, all gambling operators were forced to leave the wild, but rapidly growing market. However, as one may guess, the Ukrainian gambling ban was not far from the Prohibition in the United States in terms of its results. Ukrainian gambling market simply went undercover, depriving the Ukrainian budget of significant contributions previously made by the industry.

 

What are the current challenges for the Ukrainian gambling market?

Not so long ago, a logical step was taken by Ukraine and the gambling activities ban was lifted. However, same as in the case with the Ukrainian land market, things are not perfectly smooth and there are still some obstacles in place.

For instance, while three online casinos have already paid for and received licenses, they still can`t fully realize and enjoy the rights of an online casino operator. The reason is that the necessary regulations applicable to certification of the equipment to be used in casinos haven`t been adopted yet. Additionally, there is still a certain lack of clarity in terms of taxation of gambling activities. Some say that a specific volume-based tax will be introduced. However, considering that the licensed operators can`t get any revenues in the absence of the regulations to certify their equipment, the issue of taxation seems to be too far to think about.

Apart from that, one should note that this time Ukrainian government decided to seriously take advantage of the gambling market by imposing comparatively high license fees, financial thresholds, and location requirements (for offline casinos). For instance, the license fee is around USD 1.1 million for online casinos (for 5 years) and USD 10 million for offline casinos if based in Kyiv (additional equipment fees will also apply). Moreover, a gambling operator must have a share capital of at least USD 1.1 million and a deposit account or Ukrainian bank guarantee for USD 1.2 million.

As to the location requirements, under the new legislation, casinos can be opened only at 5-star hotels with at least 150 rooms in Kyiv, 4- and 5-star hotels with at least 100 rooms in other regions, out-of-town resorts with a total area of at least 10,000 m2 or “special gaming zones” within territories to be further defined by the Ukrainian government.

Under the new law, various restrictive regulations of a similar character also apply to betting, slot machine halls, and online poker activities.

 

Opportunities and additional obligations for Ukrainian gambling operators

It is worth mentioning that there are some opportunities for the new market players. The new law provides that such players may obtain investment licenses. Holders of such licenses will be exempt from license fees for 10 years if they build a new 5-star hotel with at least 200 rooms in Kyiv or 150 rooms in another Ukrainian region.

Ukrainian gambling operators will be also obliged to follow certain gambling standards and policies aimed at preventing gambling addiction. The government plans to launch a state-owned online monitoring system. The system will perform a real-time oversight and control of the Ukrainian gambling industry.

To sum it all up, it’s an important aspect that different people might make different conclusions as to the above. Pessimists might claim that this time, the gambling market launch in Ukraine has little chance to become interesting for the largest international market players. However, if evaluated by opportunists, entering the Ukrainian gambling market is definitely worth a shot.

High financial thresholds and strict regulations ensure that the market will not slip into putting dirty slot machines centered around metro stations. It is more likely that the Ukrainian gambling industry will at least somehow resemble what one may observe in wealthy locations like Las Vegas. This puts confidence into the minds of potential investors because the government will not be in a position to cut its own leg by banning a well-governed and budget-supporting industry.

The readiness of the local online casino market players to pay for the licenses which can`t be yet used proves the above statement to be true. It also leads to a conclusion that gambling investors should already be on their way to Ukraine in order to be in a time when the market starts to operate and extreme profits flow into the hands of the few pioneers.

 

Eastern Europe

Wazdan grows Romanian footprint with MaxBet.ro

Published

on

Wazdan grows Romanian footprint with MaxBet.ro
Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

Wazdan, the global supplier of igaming products, has reinforced its commercial presence in Romania by partnering with prominent operator MaxBet.ro.

MaxBet.ro was established by a group of casino enthusiasts with a wealth of industry experience to deliver the best online gambling services available to Romanian players. Earning accreditation from Romanian’s gambling authority (ONJN) in 2016, MaxBet.ro is now one of the biggest operators in the market.

Under the agreement, the operator can make the most of a selection of twenty Wazdan’s high quality products, including the popular Power of Gods™: EgyptLarry the Leprechaun and Sizzling 777 Deluxe slots.

The agreement marks another milestone deal for Wazdan, having signed deals with OktagonBet, MeridianBet, Odin Services, Elite24Bet, GG.by, and Twin Casino in recent months.

Alongside its popular slot titles, Wazdan will also be supplying its Unique Wazdan Features, including the enhanced Volatility Levels, giving players the chance to customise the product to suit their needs and preferences, but also allowing MaxBet.ro to choose a default Volatility Level™ for their players.

Radka Bacheva, Head of Sales and Business Development for Balkan and SE Europe at Wazdan, said: “Thanks to MaxBet.ro’s impressive reputation and reach in the Romanian market, the agreement is beneficial for both parties, significantly raising awareness of our profile among players in the country.

“Our products provide both variety and excitement to suit different player preferences, and we are excited to see how they resonate with the operator’s audiences.”

Alexandra Oneata, Head of Product at MaxBet.ro, said: “Our main goal since establishing our brand has been to deliver truly memorable experiences to our audiences.

“We are thrilled to be able to add Wazdan’s renowned slot products to our portfolio, and cannot wait to hear player feedback on how they have been received.”

Continue Reading

Compliance Updates

German Gambling Regulator Appoints Ronald Benter and Benjamin Schwanke as its Leading Executives

Published

on

Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

Germany’s new gambling regulator, the Glücksspielbehörde, has detailed its ambition to pursue a dual leadership strategy, appointing Ronald Benter and Benjamin Schwanke as its leading executives.

The Glücksspielbehörde’s dual leadership strategy will see Benter and Schwanke jointly coordinate the organisation’s oversight and activities, with the commission aiming to amass around 110 employees and begin taking full supervisory responsibility of the German market by July 2022.

Prior to joining the regulator, Benter worked for the Ministry of the Interior of the north German state of Schleswig-Holstein – the first state to have moved forward with online betting and gaming – leading and overseeing the regional gaming and municipal business law department.

“Our task for the next one and a half years is initially to set up the authority in such a way that it is able to act,” Benter said.

Schwanke is a previous member of the EU Gambling Expert Group, and most recently held the position of Head of the Hamburg Gambling Authority as part of the city’s Interior and Sports Authority.

Continue Reading

Eastern Europe

Synot Games Expands Its Presence in Romania

Published

on

Synot Games Expands Its Presence in Romania
Reading Time: < 1 minute

 

SYNOT Games has announced a strategic partnership deal with Favbet and continues to expand its presence in the Romanian market.

This deal earned Favbet access to the SYNOT Games offer, including slots from fruity classic to the newest titles and top performers such as Book of Secrets, Monkey Slots, Respin Joker, and others which are already e available to the Romanian players.

“We are pleased to have another strong operator, such as Favbet, providing our games in the market. It’s a great achievement to see that more players will now be able to enjoy our ever-expanding range of engaging and exciting games. And we are looking forward to see our player base in Romania grow, ” Martina Hrabinska, CCO at SYNOT Games.

„We are pleased about the partnership with SYNOT Games. Our players in Romania can now enjoy the engaging SYNOT portfolio, which will complete our offer with exciting games with a fresh mixture of graphics and sound,“ Serghei Burbulea, CEO at FAVBET ROMANIA.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
NSoft
Advertisement
EvoPlay
Advertisement
Kasyno Online na HEX Polska

Subscribe to our News via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to our news and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Trending

Notice for AdBlock users

We are constantly showing banners about important news regarding events and product launches. Please turn AdBlock off in order to see these areas.