In 2020, the gambling business was legalized in Ukraine after 11 years of prohibition. Since 2021, licensed casinos have begun to appear. Shangri La by Michael Boettcher was the first to enter the market. And during the year, several complexes of large international brands were opened. Legalization gave them the opportunity to work in Ukraine. A number of international companies have long been waiting to enter this market. Since the decision was made to legalize the gambling business in Ukraine, companies have been working on preparing their units.
However, legal requirements for gambling operators in Ukraine are more than high. It will be difficult to find a country where it will be more expensive to buy a license and pay all taxes for legal work in the field of gambling than here.
Those who entered the market are waiting for a solution to the issue of taxation and financial monitoring, noted Darren Keane, Storm International CEO. While illegal operators continue to work in the center of Kyiv and other cities, without giving a single dollar to the country’s budget.
Licensed casinos comply with all legal conditions, use licensed software and equipment, pay taxes, identify users and accept all the rules of the new civilized market. This is the development of a new culture of entertainment in Ukraine, which is consistent with the principles of responsible gaming in action.
In addition, gambling is an export product. For example, the experience of casinos in the Baltics shows that players from other countries spend on average about 2,500 euros there on related services, including hotels, restaurants, taxis, shopping, excursions, clubs, etc.
Ukraine also has great potential in this area, largely due to the country’s favorable geographical location. Kyiv is much more interesting for a potential visitor-player than Belarus, Georgia or Latvia. It is possible to close all these flows of tourists interested in gambling in Ukraine. And it will be quite a lot of money. Today, tourism income is less than 5% of GDP. In the developed countries of the world, it averages 10-12%.
A great example in this sense is Macau, which is also called the “Asian Las Vegas”. The economy of this region is 70% dependent on gambling, despite the fact that gambling is largely prohibited in mainland China. In 2019, about 40 million people visited Macau, and the average gaming income per person there is twice that of Las Vegas.
With the arrival of foreign investors from Las Vegas, the largest resort complexes in the world appeared in Macau. An important clarification: approximately 45% of Macau’s gambling income comes from foreign tourists.
Based on these examples, Ukraine can try to do everything in order to attract foreign tourists, added Darren Keane from Storm International. And not only for playing in the casino, but also for getting foreigners acquainted with Ukrainian culture. As a result, the country will receive huge money from this.