According to Ivan Rudyi, the head of the Ukrainian Gambling and Lottery Commission, gambling is expected to be legalized in the country by December, with the commission working on a bill which will formalize the various tax rates for different types of gambling.
The commission also expects that around UAH 1 billion will be added to the federal budget due to the revenue raised by this activity.
It is also notable that Rudyi is the former member of Ukraine’s Anti-Terrorist Operation, and has years of experience in the military, as well as in management, international relations and finance. According to President Volodymyr Zelensky, online gambling is expected to contribute nearly UAH5 billion ($176 million) to the state budget next year, following the legalization of the activity.
Most of that money will come from licensing fees, while future revenues will depend on the tax rates on gambling. It is important that these laws are passed quickly, as Ukrainian citizens will be able to play online slots, blackjack, poker and other casino games, without fear of doing something illegal.
This is also noteworthy given the ongoing pandemic, which has meant that land-based casinos have had to close down all over the world, leaving gambling fans with no alternative but to look for online ways to pass the time in some online live dealer casino and engage in their favourite activity.
In addition to this legislation, the government has also begun to crack down on illegal gambling in the country. According to the President, thousands of illegal casinos have been shut down, which is in line with the push to legalize gambling as well, so that operations can take place within the law and with tax revenues accruing to the government.
Estimates are that there are over 200,000 illegal slot halls in Ukraine as well, all of which will either have to be shut down or be brought within the scope of the new law by the operators by paying the required licensing fees, if they want to continue to operate in the country.
Taxation will be a very important part of the government’s gambling policies, and it will shape the way in which the industry will grow and evolve in Ukraine. Most experts are of the opinion that the government can only charge either a high licensing fee or have high tax rates, but not both, if the industry is to thrive.
The license for sports betting is €940,000 at the beginning, and it is expected to increase to €3 million once the state monitoring system comes into effect. Therefore, if these fees are to stay, the government will have to ensure that the tax rates are not too high, otherwise casino and gambling operators will be discouraged from setting up their operations in Ukraine.
For example, officers from Parimatch have said that they would be interested in entering the Ukrainian market, but only if the terms and taxation policies are right.
Most observers believe that Ukraine is doing well in terms of setting up its taxation system at present, and it is following the example of neighbouring Georgia in creating an open approach to taxation and gambling policies.
This will help attract foreign investors and operators as well, as they look for transparent policies to help them decide where to invest. Thus, with this open approach, Ukraine is set to create a whole new market for investors and businessmen, while at the same time increasing the revenue for the government, and providing gambling fans in the country with a legal way to enjoy the activity.