According to the UN, almost 5.5 million people migrated abroad as of the end of April. In addition, about 8 million more Ukrainians became internally displaced persons in their own country. Only 59% of Ukrainians managed to keep their jobs.
Due to the occupation and destruction, many businesses in various industries ceased their operations. Entertainment and tourism companies are no exception to this process.
Such companies include licensed gambling operators. In fact, all gambling establishments in active war zones were forced to suspend their activities and close down.
The land-based segment of domestic gambling has suffered the most from war. For instance, 12 licensed gambling operators informed CRGL about the closure of 39 of their gambling establishments. Today, there is no way to predict when exactly they will be able to work again.
However, it is safe to say that the issue of reopening offline gambling establishments is likely to be the case for quite a long time, at least until the end of the war. Even then, it will take time to restore the infrastructure in the de-occupied territories.
In addition, most casino visitors in Ukraine were tourists from abroad. Also, one cannot say when it will be possible to resume the tourist flow.
We should not expect domestic tourism to revive anytime soon, since Ukrainians have no time for entertainment now. In addition, many people have lost their source of income.
The construction of new gambling zones, the projects of which were agreed upon with local communities before the war, is off the table, since all available resources will be used to restore infrastructure destroyed by the invaders. That is why the future of land-based gambling in Ukraine remains quite difficult.
However, despite the circumstances, which it would be an understatement to call force majeure, the current legislative norms require gambling operators to pay license fees.
On the one hand, this is understandable, because when the relevant law was adopted, no one could have predicted a full-scale war. On the other hand, the State should respond quickly to such challenges and help the domestic business survive.
That is why, in order to support the gambling industry in these turbulent times, the Parliament should adopt changes to the specialized law, namely, introduce the term “license suspension”. That is, if a land-based establishment did not operate during the war, it makes sense to renew its license for the relevant period, but after our victory.
Today, all legal gambling companies still operating in Ukraine allocate a significant part of their income (in addition to taxes) to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the humanitarian needs of internally displaced persons.
At the same time, while supporting our country in the fight against russian aggression, the business also needs legislative and regulatory assistance from the State to be more useful. During the war, the State and business must support each other to win!