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Anton Kuchukhidze: Against all difficulties, legal gambling continues to pay license fees

Despite the war, the economic contraction, the decline in business activity and in demand for entertainment industry services, legal gambling market representatives continue to pay license fees and taxes. In difficult times of war, they provide budget revenues, supporting the State and preventing the rollback of the gambling legalization reform.

The absolute majority of the Ukrainian Gambling Council members are clear that only legal gambling should exist in Ukraine, which must comply with the relevant gambling legislation introducing, in particular, the timely payment of license fees to the state budget. And members of our union are doing it with all due diligence.

Recently, Cosmolot has paid UAH 23.4 million for the second year of a license to operate in the online casino industry. Before, Pokermatch, PIN-UP Ukraine, Parimatch, First, and Vbet also paid the relevant license fees. In 2022, legal gambling operators have transferred UAH 746 million to the state budget in license fees alone.

It is also interesting that in its recent official statement, the Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries noted that it would not consider the non-payment of license fees by gambling operators as a violation due to force majeure resulting from the war.

I believe this gives us an idea of three key features of legal gambling in Ukraine.

1. The operators support the State and the economy even in challenging times. The primary goal of any business is profit. However, in times of crisis, when it comes to war, civilized legal business understands that its survival depends solely on the existence of the State where it operates. That is why Ukrainian legal gambling today regularly pays license fees and taxes, supporting the State and its economy. It also reflects a high level of understanding between legal gambling and the State, achieved in less than two years of reform.

2. Operating companies use sustainable and flexible business models that can adapt to fundamental challenges. The ability to pay tens of millions of license fees in times of war means that legal gambling operators can efficiently and quickly adapt their business to the most serious challenges. It directly refutes the idea that legal gambling is a kind of an illegal scheme since only systemic companies with efficient crisis management can survive in the face of such challenges.

3. Legal operators strive to preserve and increase the achievements of the gambling legalization reform. The fight of gambling operators against russia to support the State, both through paying license fees and their volunteer initiatives, indicates their interest in continued reforms and unwillingness to let the market become illegal again.

We also should remember that, apart from the unfavourable economic situation, draft law 2713-d on gambling taxation has not yet been adopted. However, legal operators systematically pay license fees and related taxes, which is a direct manifestation of the gambling social responsibility and a clear demonstration that legal gambling operators and the State act as one in the war against russia and contribute to the economic stabilization.

Anton Kuchukhidze, Chairman of the Ukrainian Gambling Council, exclusively for the Ukrainian News
Anton Kuchukhidze