Post release 2019 winter

Gambling Legalization in Ukraine and International Experience in Industry Growth: Results of Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference

On December 18, Smile-Expo held Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference. This major event was dedicated to gambling legalization issues in Ukraine.

The event brought together foreign experts, representatives of Ukrainian government agencies, and heads of specialized associations. Speakers discussed gambling regulation bills, examined legalization prospects, and expressed their opinions about the legislative process. They also shared experience in the development and promotion of gambling companies in different countries.

The conference was moderated by Tetiana Klymenko, Head of Legal Department at Law & Trust International.

Speakers’ presentations

The conference was opened by Tetiana Klymenko. She talked about systems for financial and tax monitoring of gambling activities. The speaker delved into the experience of the UK, Malta, and the Isle of Man.

The audience was highly intrigued by Carlo Pagan, Former VP of Marketing at European Casino Association. expert examined case studies of successful casino promotion and gave examples of efficient player acquisition tools.

Speaking about the gambling advertising regulation, Mr. Pagan stressed that Ukraine should permit advertising but impose certain restrictions protecting minors from access to games of chance.

Charmaine Hogan, Head of Regulatory Affairs at Playtech, focused on fighting against gambling addiction at the legislative level and compliance with the responsible gambling concept. The speaker described AI-based programs as one of the anti-problem gambling tools. Reportedly, such systems are able to analyze and control players’ behavior on gambling platforms, as well as to detect and prevent potential risks.

Lavrenty Gubin, Marketing and Public Relations Director at Storm International, told guests about crucial aspects that should be taken into account when setting up a gambling business. According to the speaker, gambling organizers should primarily rely on the preferences of their customers. Meanwhile, players pay attention to the venue location, its reputation, the list of available games, and various bonuses.

Maryna Martynenko, Head of HR at Slotegrator, highlighted the specific nature of gambling personnel selection. She explained how to engage staff in the gambling sector and where to find highly trained professionals.

A joint speech was delivered by Sergio Suárez, Senior Technical Compliance Engineer at Gaming Laboratories International, and Nadya Hambach from Velchev & Co. They covered gambling business licensing.

Sergio emphasized the importance of gambling system certification. He clarified that technical certification was a vital part of the licensing process.

Viktoriya Ivakhno, Senior Lawyer at SBSB, also dedicated her presentation to software certification. She mentioned the requirements for this procedure and gave tips on its undergoing.

Round table

The conference ended with a round table. It involved six Ukrainian experts:

  • Iryna Sergienko, President of the Ukrainian Gaming Industry Association (UGIA);
  • Oleksiy Yevchenko, Vice President of UGIA;
  • Ihor Makiievskyi, Head at All-Ukrainian Association of Employers in the Recreation and Entertainment Sector;
  • Yuriy Husyev, Head of Kherson Regional State Administration;
  • Halyna Vertsymaha, Head of the Department of administrative and common services markets at the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine;
  • Mykhailo Dvorskyi, Head of Legal Department at Digital Choo.

Discussion participants shared their expert opinions and answered attendees’ questions. The round table was moderated by Tamara Golubchik, Director of the Ukrainian Gaming Business Association.

Specialists reviewed and assessed gambling regulation bills submitted to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. Besides, they suggested introducing amendments to the corresponding legal documents.

Iryna noted the importance of setting the best possible amount of licensing payments and taxes to satisfy entrepreneurs as well. She also stated that organizational management of the committee acting as the authorized body could slow down the process of activating the updated gambling market. The speaker said that one should refuse the adoption of licensing e-auctions.

According to Oleksiy, the bills do not specify gambling zones in the conventional sense, which could attract more investments to Ukraine.

At the same time, Ihor noticed that the gambling regulation law should strictly distinguish the types of gambling businesses. It will allow to avoid the overlaying or replacement of one gambling activity by another. He believes that the gambling legalization law should be commercially viable in order to generate a stimulus to the Ukrainian economy growth. The speaker supposes that this document has to create such conditions that local and foreign investors will profitably put money into the infrastructure of Ukraine rather than other countries.

The discussion underlined the importance of expert and entrepreneurship participation in the legislative process. Halyna held that foreign experiences in gambling business growth should be considered when developing the bills.

Yuriy gave insight into gambling legalization prospects. He thinks that it will provide the Kherson Region with opportunities for investment raising and improvement of tourist, transport, river, and maritime infrastructure, etc. Moreover, the legal gambling business area in the region will encourage the evolution of the local airport.

Mykhailo asked MPs not to impose the total advertising ban. Reportedly, it can result in the unequal market position of legal and illegal casinos. He assumes that one should implement reasonable restrictions and produce targeted advertising.

Round table participants shared different views about the future of the Ukrainian gambling market. However, answering the moderator’s questions, Yuriy Husyev expressed confidence that the gambling regulation law will be ultimately approved and Ukraine will start growing gambling businesses in 2020.

Feedback about the conference

Experts and guests highly appreciated the level of conference organization, the list of covered topics, and the expertise of speakers.

“I liked the diverseness of speakers and the various issues discussed. International and European experiences are quite useful. To my mind, it is valuable to both develop and apply certain provisions in bills. Therefore, Kyiv iGaming Affiliate Conference is an efficient and perfect platform for experience exchange,” Halyna Vertsymaha said.

“The conference was amazing. A lot of speakers. Many globally renowned experts and professionals. Great!” Tetiana Klymenko commented on.

Ihor Makiievskyi pointed out the significance of conducting events dedicated to gambling legalization matters: “A general impression of the event is positive. Similar conferences and public gambling legalization events are necessary. Furthermore, there is a lack of them. Industry players, as well as the authorities, should have taken care of such events a long time ago in order to explain their attitude. We express our gratitude to organizers for responding to the market demands on time.”