Today we are witnessing active development of the legal gambling market in Ukraine. The Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries issues new licenses every month, and existing legal operators expand their businesses and incorporate responsible gambling principles. However, in order for the market to develop to its full potential, the specialized Draft Law 2713-д regulating the gambling taxation system must be adopted.
The development and functioning of any public economy sector, particularly a new one, always depends on its regulatory and tax environment establishing the rules of the game under which the business sector operates. They can either contribute to its development, or hinder the process and create further difficulties, scaring off investors, both internal and external.
It is hard to imagine, but today the gambling sphere in Ukraine is still regulated by tax legislation adopted back when gambling was illegal. This is the source of numerous challenges faced by legal gambling operators, chief among which is uncertainty. The lack of clear and transparent rules of the game magnifies the risks, especially when it comes to hundreds of millions in investments in the development of a particular economy sector.
That is why all legal gambling operators today look forward to the adoption of the specialized Draft Law 2713-д that will systematize the tax system and offer at least 5 more advantages.
1. Economic impact. A balanced tax burden will allow companies to develop their business faster, employ new personnel, open new gambling establishments, and develop new products and services. Clear tax legislation is also crucial for building long-term development strategies that will allow companies to plan their profitability for years to come.
2. Investment generation. International gambling investors are looking closely at Ukraine. A number of brands are ready to enter our market. One of the key constraining factors for them is the lack of a clear and transparent tax system.
3. Higher tax revenues for state and local budgets. I have repeatedly stressed that despite all the difficulties associated with the launch of the gambling market, legal operators generated more than UAH 1.2 billion of the budget revenues in the form of license fees alone. At the same time, the combined economic benefit of gambling legalization for the Ukrainian economy is estimated at UAH 30 billion. If legal operators managed to generate such returns for the State in the face of tax uncertainty, then it is safe to say that these figures will increase significantly under clear rules.
4. Fight against illegal market participants. The more transparent the tax legislation, the easier it is to combat illegal market participants and the less motivation players have to visit illegal gambling establishments. If tax-free winnings are high enough, and the rules under which casinos or slot machine halls operate are clear, why would anyone play in an illegal gaming house and put oneself at risk?
5. Increased social responsibility. Any business operating in a stable tax environment starts to invest more in projects related to social responsibility and charity. Given the specifics of the gambling industry and the need to fight against the spread of gambling addiction, any incentives for legal operators to invest more in social responsibility are crucial.
The potential positive impact of the adoption of the Draft Law 2713-д is entirely self-evident for the State, players, and the industry as a whole. The adoption of this draft law will minimize risks for national companies and international investors, and will also send a clear signal that the development of a civilized gambling market in Ukraine is one of the State’s economic priorities.
Anton Kuchukhidze, Chairman of the Ukrainian Gambling Council, exclusively for the “Ukrainian News”