Parimatch Partner Maksym Liashko on the benefits of gambling legislation reforms in Ukraine
Last year, the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky took steps to reform the country’s gambling laws, with the aim of creating a fair and transparent market for betting companies to operate in. These reforms will allow online betting operators like Parimatch to apply for a license to enter the Ukrainian market, creating thousands of jobs, increasing tax revenue and encouraging technological innovation, whilst also attracting investment into the country.
This new legislation is of vital importance to Parimatch. Ukraine is the country where we were founded over 25 years ago, it is where many of our employees are based, and where, through the PM Foundation, we have invested much of our CSR activities.
The President has been bold in his thinking to deliver reform in a short space of time, but like any project with this level of ambition, it has been plagued by delays. So far, we have seen 10 versions of the new bill debated in Parliament, with many amendments made. This does however make sense, when you think about the complexity and rigour required in a heavily regulated industry such as betting. Any new legislation needs to be right. Thankfully, the reforms are finally on track to become a reality in 2020.
In order to ensure that only reputable betting operators are granted a license, the price of the license is high. We see this as a good thing, as it ensures that only reputable businesses will be given a licence to operate. But this high licence fee needs to be balanced with the level of income tax paid by operators. The current bill as it stands, includes both a high licence fee and a high tax rate for operators, making it an unfairly punitive tax system. We hope that as the bill is further discussed, this imbalance will be addressed, creating a fair and transparent operating environment for all.