Exclusive Interview with Iryna Sergienko, CEO of the Ukrainian Gaming Industry Association
Iryna is the CEO of the Ukrainian Gaming Industry Association since August 2016 and also a Board Member of the All-Ukrainian Union for bookmaking development from 2014
As an Attorney at Law, her specialization includes gambling, IT – business and sports law. A member of the Interagency Working Group for consideration and resolution of problematic issues in the field of gambling and lotteries (2015).
Consultant of Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Family, Youth and Sports issues. Member of the Committee on Ethics and Fair Play of the Foot-ball Federation of Ukraine. Author (co-author, editor) publication “Legal regulation of gambling business. European experience. Practices in post-soviet countries. Perspectives for Ukraine” (Eng, Ukr. 2015)
Participant (speaker) of numerous specialized international conferences on issues of legal regulation of gambling., partici-pated in the draftng of Tax Code of Ukraine in the version 2014 in part of tax issues for the gambling industry.
What is the key mission of the event, since there are many rumors that the market will be opened for licensing in 2018?
Iryna: Ukraine today has come to the crucial point in legalization of the gambling industry. There is more and more understanding that this business should be transparent and profitable for the investors, the State and society.
The Summit is designed as a platform where the experts, officials and businessmen from across the world can share their ideas and experience on how the gaming industry become legal, safe and properly regulated, so it can attract investors, generate revenues for the State budget and be consumer friendly and responsible.
Therefore, we organize this event in order to convert the public discussion into particular legislation framework.
Can you share with us the reason why delegates should attend the inaugural edition of the Ukrainian Gaming Summit?
Iryna: The situation in Ukraine is very dynamic, and each month the Parliament launches large-scale reforms. We can see a political commitment to reforms agenda and the Parliament’s capability to adopt necessary laws. It may occur, gaming industry will become legalized in the very nearest future and this event will directly influence market access conditions. The Cabinet of Ministers registered its draft gambling law #4663. Along with other drafts, they all are at the current legislative agenda of the Parliament.
Therefore, participants of the Summit will be discussing all possible ways of legislating the gaming industry properly. Every visitor has a chance to share his views and ideas. Comments foreign participants will be mostly valued – world markets have more experience and practices in implementing different types of legislation with good or bad consequences.
The event is also a good opportunity for investors looking for new markets or finding new partners in the developing markets.
As far as we know, there will be plenty of keynote speakers from the local government. What is the opinion of the regulators and legislators about the online and land-based industry in Ukraine?
Iryna: Most officials and lawmakers view the gaming industry (both online and offline) as an additional source of budget revenues, and that is legitimate part of their job. Ukrainian government needs more money for building new infrastructure, keeping the army and funding social programs. Financial aid from the IMF, the key international donor, was also made dependent upon legalization of the gaming industry (implementation of gaming laws is written in the IMF memorandum agreed with Ukraine).
The only thing that has to be taken into consideration – how to build the legislation in a proper way by taking into account the interests of all stakeholders: business, the State and society. The taxation should not distract business, the investor’s rights should be protected, the society should be protected from fraud and abuses.
The Summit will discuss all these topics.
Given the fact the 2017 has been a year where some EU countries have made important steps towards opening up their markets for remote operators to apply for local licenses, do you think that this will be the case in Ukraine?
Iryna: It is simply inevitable. Ukraine has quite developed IT infrastructure, in particular in payments sector, and plenty of human resources. Even now, when the Ukrainian industry functions in shadow, online gambling dominates and continues to develop.
As a closing question, we would like to ask about the main takeaways of the event. What will be the main takeaways of the event?
Iryna: The first and important outcome of this event should be a creation of the legislation with adequate and sound market access. In addition, we expect the Summit to become a place for businesses, both Ukrainian and foreign, to meet each other and discuss investment projects in Ukraine.
You can register for the Ukrainian Gaming Summit (UGS 2017) by clicking on the banner below: