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Gambling legalization as a current global trend

An increasing number of countries agree that the gambling business legalization is more beneficial than a complete ban on this sector: statesmen are drawing closer to a consensus that control over this legal economy sector is more profitable than the “shadow” gambling that not only worsens criminal situation and deprives players of legal protection, but also fails to create additional state internal revenue.


Thus, the global trend to legalize gambling is gradually increasing not only in liberal Western markets, but also in such patriarchal societies as Azerbaijan, where gambling has been banned since 1999.

Only state lotteries and sports betting are allowed there. Recently, chairman of the Law Policy and State-Building Committee Gudrat Hasanguliyev launched an initiative to legalize gambling in Azerbaijan.

During the discussion of the draft law “On Tourism”, the lawmaker noted that “the geographical location of Azerbaijan allows the concept of entertainment tourism to be addressed in such a draft law.”

He believes that casinos may be allowed in certain territories, for example in Nagorno-Karabakh region or on the island of Nargin. According to the lawmaker, it would thus allow these regions to attract tourists from other countries.

This is a prime example of how the Azerbaijani government, on the one hand, plans to attract additional resources for the development of economically declining regions, and on the other hand, to resist the outflow of money to Russia, where the gambling business has long been legalized.

Today, those willing to spend their money on gambling do it outside Azerbaijan, in neighbouring Russia or Belarus. Azerbaijan plans to introduce legal gambling in order to return money back to the country.

Ukraine, for its part, has lost tens of billions of hryvnias due to the ban on legal gambling, which was in force from 2009 to 2020, since a large proportion of Ukrainian players were forced to use foreign jurisdictions to gamble legally, or to use illegal gambling services, thus increasing the level of corruption and criminalization of this business sector.

At the same time, the key issue for which the gambling business was banned, namely numerous slot machines located in non-specialized and dangerous premises, as well as free access of children and adolescents to such establishments, has not been resolved.

In just a year and a half since the adoption and entry into force of the Law of Ukraine “On State Regulation of Activities Concerning the Organization and Conduct of Gambling”, illegal slot machine halls have practically disappeared from the Ukrainian streets.

Access to legal gambling establishments for persons under 21 is prohibited, and violation of this norm may lead not only to penalties, but to the revocation of the operator’s license. That is why there are no people willing to take such a risk.

Despite the fact that the gambling market in Ukraine is desperately waiting for the lawmakers to harmonize the draconian tax burden on the industry (draft law 2713-d), the development of legal gambling is of great interest. For instance, in 2021, the state budget received UAH 1.6 billion only from license fees.

During this period, thanks to the positive effect of the gambling business on related industries, namely tourism, hospitality business, IT, souvenir business, advertising, etc., central and local budgets of Ukraine received additional UAH 30 billion.

This once again confirmed the world practice: the “white” gambling market as part of the entertainment industry benefits and generates profit for both businessmen and the State, and the players get high-quality, safe and interesting form of recreation.

Viktoriya Zakrevskaya