On May 1, a draft law on changes in the organization and conduct of gambling and lotteries in Ukraine was submitted to the Verkhovna Rada. Its initiator is the Ministry of Digital Transformation of the country.
The Ministry’s Head, Myhajlo Fedorov, proposes to dissolve the Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (CRGL), and automate the process of getting the gambling license. According to reports, the idea of a new bill was dictated by the lack of efficiency of the current regulator of the gambling business.
Ivan Rudy, Head of CRGL, said that this document was not officially submitted to the Commission, and that he found out about it only after it was published on the Verkhovna Rada’s official website.
«To be honest, I don’t understand what this all is about or how efficient it is. After reviewing the main theses, I saw that the proposed changes, in fact, already exist in the current version of the legislation. I don’t understand what we are changing», — commented the Head of CRGL.
The Ministry of Digital Transformation indicated that CRGL, a collegial body that includes the chairman and the members of the commission, is now unable to hold meetings on issuing licenses due to a shortage of people in the Commission. Rudy agrees, but notes that for two months the Cabinet of Ministers has not responded to their letters asking to appoint new members of the Commission.
«Indeed, a quorum is required, because we have packs and packs of documents and license applications. It is necessary to make decisions on the sanctioning policy, on the annulment of licenses», — said Mr. Rudy.
Ivan Rudy also notes that it is precisely this collegiality that is necessary for transparent decision-making, and the proposed bill provides for a decision to be made unilaterally.
Fedorov assured that this draft law would remove the human factor from the process of getting licenses, automate it, and implement clear rules. At the same time, Rudy points out that there is already some level of automation in the current Commission’s processes: it is possible to submit documents via digital channels, and there’s also a procedure in place for extending a slot machine license.
«How many new licenses do we expect to issue? In three years we’ve issued around 36 of them — for operators, and a large number of licenses for gaming equipment […] Why spend money and create an automation product for something that has little use?», — wondered the Head of the Ukrainian gambling regulator.
According to Ivan Rudy, there are now two unresolved problems preventing the completion of the reform: the launch of the State Online Monitoring System (GSOM) and a transparent decision on the taxation of the gambling business.
«There are no other problems, the institution is working, the reform is working. Over the past year, the commission fulfilled the plan by 99%, which was set prior to the start of the invasion […] I don’t understand what final efficiency and what problem we are solving simply by rearranging the terms», — he said.
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