Gaming halls and casinos are rapidly opening in Ukraine. By 2022, several dozen companies have received official permits to open gaming complexes, work with sports betting, slot machines, poker rooms, gambling entertainment. Among the innovators of the market there are world famous brands. For example, the first casino in Ukraine – Shangri La Kyiv – belongs to Michael Boettcher’s Storm International network that has been operating in Europe for 30 years.
Brand’s representatives note that they received the necessary packages of documents for work a year ago. They carefully prepared for the launch of a network of land-based offline establishments, but faced a lot of pitfalls and nuances.
Until 2020, the industry could not operate in the country, as there was no permit and no legal framework. As a result, it turned out that after receiving official licenses, Shangri La faced difficulties where to find staff and how to organize training for specialists, as well as what to do with underground illegal establishments, said Darren Keane from Storm International.
Thematic conferences where representatives of the gambling business could exchange knowledge and experience were not held. Only in the fall of 2021 was the first such event organized.
In addition, new casino gaming halls lead to increase in prices for commercial real estate. Many investors interested in the Ukrainian market started looking for premises back in 2019, when it became clear that the gambling direction in Ukraine would receive official licenses.
Hoteland hospitality business representatives indicated that many companies are interested in the possibility of opening gambling halls and land-based casinos. There were meetings at which hotel owners could dictate terms, because a whole queue of people lined up on the cherished squares.
At the same time, the regulation of the gambling market continues to be tough. Experts point out that today it is much more difficult to open gambling halls and land-based casinos in Ukraine than it was in the early 2000s before the ban imposed in 2009.
Among the main restrictions indicate accommodation on the territory of hotels. The slot hall cannot be opened on commercial or industrial premises. Of course, such a serious restriction leads to an increase in prices for commercial real estate.
Complicated equipment certification. Slot machines must pass inspections and receive relevant documents confirming the honesty of the results. Of course, the organizers of gambling have to look for laboratories, conclude contracts, agree on deadlines, and pay for services.
Payment of taxes and mandatory contributions. Increased interest rates are set for the activities carried out by the gambling halls of the casino.
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This affects the payback periods of projects.
However, investors are going to continue to open establishments in hotels in Ukraine, despite all the difficulties and limitations listed above. What speaks about the prospects of a new market in Europe.