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Ukrainian gambling: to be, or not to be, that is (already not) the question

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After significant and protracted deliberations, Ukraine finally legalized gambling activities back in 2020. The Law on the governance of the organization and carrying out of gambling activities became effective almost half a year ago. As of the date of writing this article, already 3 licenses have been granted to online casinos for their gambling activities to be performed in the future.

There is still a number of issues and, despite all efforts, the gambling market seems to be standstill except for the mentioned minor movements by local online players obtaining licenses. As of now, it seems that no big international market players are entering the newly born Ukrainian gambling market. So, let`s discuss whether it is all going somewhere and if that somewhere is in the right direction.

 

Ukrainian gambling market background

To see a broader picture, one should unveil the historical background of the current gambling market legalization in Ukraine. First of all, it’s worth mentioning that the Ukrainian gambling market has been actually reopened, but not developed from scratch.

The previously operating Ukrainian gambling market was not so much a success story as one might imagine. There were no huge and fancy casinos like in Las Vegas, but rather a market consisting of different establishments, some of them even legal and compliant. They were shut down by decisive moves of the state authorities in 2009 due to the lack of comprehensive regulations and effective control over their execution, which irreversibly led to negative consequences. As a result, the mentioned flaws contributed to the growth of black and grey gambling services markets. Moreover, the lack of strict rules and their enforcement also formed a public opinion that the gambling market was something antisocial and dirty. Ukrainians still remember well those times when slot machine halls literally surrounded public transport stops and were filled with some not exactly wealthy people giving up their last money in pursuit of a snatch.

At that time, Ukrainian authorities decided to use muscles instead of brains and banned all gambling activities instead of introducing reasonable regulation and taking the situation under control. Thus, starting from mid-2009, all gambling operators were forced to leave the wild, but rapidly growing market. However, as one may guess, the Ukrainian gambling ban was not far from the Prohibition in the United States in terms of its results. Ukrainian gambling market simply went undercover, depriving the Ukrainian budget of significant contributions previously made by the industry.

 

What are the current challenges for the Ukrainian gambling market?

Not so long ago, a logical step was taken by Ukraine and the gambling activities ban was lifted. However, same as in the case with the Ukrainian land market, things are not perfectly smooth and there are still some obstacles in place.

For instance, while three online casinos have already paid for and received licenses, they still can`t fully realize and enjoy the rights of an online casino operator. The reason is that the necessary regulations applicable to certification of the equipment to be used in casinos haven`t been adopted yet. Additionally, there is still a certain lack of clarity in terms of taxation of gambling activities. Some say that a specific volume-based tax will be introduced. However, considering that the licensed operators can`t get any revenues in the absence of the regulations to certify their equipment, the issue of taxation seems to be too far to think about.

Apart from that, one should note that this time Ukrainian government decided to seriously take advantage of the gambling market by imposing comparatively high license fees, financial thresholds, and location requirements (for offline casinos). For instance, the license fee is around USD 1.1 million for online casinos (for 5 years) and USD 10 million for offline casinos if based in Kyiv (additional equipment fees will also apply). Moreover, a gambling operator must have a share capital of at least USD 1.1 million and a deposit account or Ukrainian bank guarantee for USD 1.2 million.

As to the location requirements, under the new legislation, casinos can be opened only at 5-star hotels with at least 150 rooms in Kyiv, 4- and 5-star hotels with at least 100 rooms in other regions, out-of-town resorts with a total area of at least 10,000 m2 or “special gaming zones” within territories to be further defined by the Ukrainian government.

Under the new law, various restrictive regulations of a similar character also apply to betting, slot machine halls, and online poker activities.

 

Opportunities and additional obligations for Ukrainian gambling operators

It is worth mentioning that there are some opportunities for the new market players. The new law provides that such players may obtain investment licenses. Holders of such licenses will be exempt from license fees for 10 years if they build a new 5-star hotel with at least 200 rooms in Kyiv or 150 rooms in another Ukrainian region.

Ukrainian gambling operators will be also obliged to follow certain gambling standards and policies aimed at preventing gambling addiction. The government plans to launch a state-owned online monitoring system. The system will perform a real-time oversight and control of the Ukrainian gambling industry.

To sum it all up, it’s an important aspect that different people might make different conclusions as to the above. Pessimists might claim that this time, the gambling market launch in Ukraine has little chance to become interesting for the largest international market players. However, if evaluated by opportunists, entering the Ukrainian gambling market is definitely worth a shot.

High financial thresholds and strict regulations ensure that the market will not slip into putting dirty slot machines centered around metro stations. It is more likely that the Ukrainian gambling industry will at least somehow resemble what one may observe in wealthy locations like Las Vegas. This puts confidence into the minds of potential investors because the government will not be in a position to cut its own leg by banning a well-governed and budget-supporting industry.

The readiness of the local online casino market players to pay for the licenses which can`t be yet used proves the above statement to be true. It also leads to a conclusion that gambling investors should already be on their way to Ukraine in order to be in a time when the market starts to operate and extreme profits flow into the hands of the few pioneers.

This article has been created with the help of Oleksandr Aleksyeyenko (Partner at Marchenko Partners) and Sviatoslav Henyk (Senior Associate at Marchenko Partners)

George Miller (Gyorgy Molnar) started his career in content marketing and has started working as an Editor/Content Manager for our company in 2016. George has acquired many experiences when it comes to interviews and newsworthy content becoming Head of Content in 2017. He is responsible for the news being shared on multiple websites that are part of the European Gaming Media Network.

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FreeBitco.in Takes the Reins of FUN in Multi-Million Dollar Token Acquisition

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FreeBitco.in Takes the Reins of FUN in Multi-Million Dollar Token Acquisition
FreeBitco.in Takes the Reins of FUN in Multi-Million Dollar Token AcquisitionReading Time: 3 minutes

 

Through a series of ventures, FreeBitco.in seeks to promote the mass adoption and utilization of FUN Token in the iGaming and Gaming spaces.

FreeBitco.in, one of the biggest Bitcoin iGaming websites in the world, has acquired the majority of FunFair’s remaining cold storage of FUN tokens, the native cryptocurrency of the FunFair gaming ecosystem. The cold storage holds 4.45 billion FUN Tokens and FreeBitco.in has acquired 3.75 billion tokens.

Through this acquisition, FreeBitco.in plans to invest in the token’s long-term development.

“Since 2013, FreeBitco.in’s goal has always been to provide online gaming enthusiasts with a frictionless, transparent, and truly fair experience,” said a statement by FreeBitco.in. “There’s no better fit than the FUN token to help us significantly enhance our efforts.”
The FUN Token
Since 2017, FunFair Technologies has been striving to deliver a guaranteed fair, decentralized gaming experience to the mass market through blockchain technology utilizing the FUN token.

“Despite several industry firsts and significant milestones in proving that use case, it has recently become apparent that FreeBitco.in has developed a different and superior use case for the FUN token,” said a statement released by FunFair.

This announcement refers to FreeBitco.in’s Premium Membership Program; a feature that incentivizes FreeBitco.in users to buy and hold FUN tokens for significant benefits. This activity has driven considerable volume into the token economy without the burden of significant on-chain transactions.

“There’s no doubt that FreeBitco.in’s customers are currently generating the bulk of FUN token commercial activity rather than FunFair’s customers,” continued the statement.

“With this in mind and for the token economy to maintain its recent success, FunFair has agreed to sell the majority of their FUN token holdings to FreeBitco.in.”

FUN is an ERC20 token listed on major exchanges Binance, BitFinex, HitBTC, Changelly, and OKEx, as well as decentralized exchanges like Uniswap.
FreeBitco.in’s Vision for FUN
FreeBitco.in aspires to grow the FUN token as an independent entity through a series of upcoming projects.

“Our sole objective, as of now, is to work to increase FUN’s utility and value,” said FreeBitco.in. “We’re thoroughly committed to its long-term growth.”

Accordingly, FreeBitco.in is preparing to undertake the following initiatives:

1. Strategic Burning of Tokens: FreeBitco.in plans to invest a substantial portion of its bottom line into strategically acquiring and burning FUN tokens to elevate their value over time.

2. Improving Liquidity: FreeBitco.in is working on increasing FUN’s liquidity across all markets, thus making it easily accessible and tradeable. This is evidenced by a cumulative influx of $3 million in the FUN/ETH and FUN/USDC trading pairs on Uniswap recently, and other exchanges are set to follow.

3. New Blockchain: Based on the Ethereum blockchain, FUN prided itself on being fast, open, and secure. However, the growth of DeFi on Ethereum has been pushing gas prices up for many months, making the adoption of FUN too expensive for users. FreeBitco.in is actively exploring opportunities to port the FUN Token to a new blockchain that is faster and cheaper.

4. Dedicated Wallet: FreeBitco.in is working on creating a dedicated wallet for FUN users that can operate seamlessly between different iGaming platforms. The wallet would also help users convert their FUN tokens into multiple crypto and fiat currencies.

5. Proactive Development: FreeBitco.in is assembling a development team to build innovative, consumer-facing apps based around the FUN token, thus creating more use cases, strengthening utility, and promoting adoption.

6. Creating Effective Partnerships: FreeBitco.in seeks to build productive partnerships and affiliations with other iGaming entities to promote FUN’s identity as a transactional currency in online gambling.

Note: This is not a partnership between the two organizations, namely FreeBitco.in and FunFair Technologies. The aforementioned acquisition and venture is at the sole discretion of FreeBitco.in.

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Red Bull Mobile Esports Open Season 3 Finals to Crown the Best Players in the World

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Red Bull Mobile Esports Open Season 3 Finals to Crown the Best Players in the World
Red Bull Mobile Esports Open Season 3 Finals to Crown the Best Players in the WorldReading Time: 2 minutes

 

The third year of the competitive celebration of the mobile gaming scene comes to a spectacular thirteen day conclusion with world finals for Hearthstone® on March 20th, Teamfight Tactics on March 27th, and PUBG MOBILE on March 22nd and 29th.

  • The best Teamfight Tactics, Hearthstone and PUBG MOBILE players in the world will compete on the world stage in an epic thirteen day final, transporting players and fans to a virtual Istanbul.
  • The Red Bull Mobile Esports Open (M.E.O.) Season 3 Finals festival begins when the virtual Istanbul venue opens on March 17th.
  • The event will crown champions for all three games from March 20th – 29th.
  • Season 3 has been the most ambitious to date, with over 22,000 players registering to compete.

Red Bull M.E.O., the global mobile competition where Teamfight Tactics (TFT), Hearthstone®, and PUBG MOBILE players across the globe have been battling for supremacy, comes to an exciting close in March 2021! In its third year, the mobile open will close out its most ambitious season to date with an extraordinary thirteen day world final beginning on March 17th, transporting fans to a virtual Istanbul. The event will see national winners from 28 countries compete on the world stage to identify the best players on the planet. Alongside the highest tier of competition, the world final will offer fans a digital festival celebrating one of the world’s most beautiful cities, including virtual tours, exciting live streams, interactive challenges, and much more.

Uniquely positioned on both the continents of Europe, and Asia, Istanbul is the perfect digital battleground for the global competition. The immersive playground will feature three areas dedicated to the Red Bull M.E.O. Season 3 games, with the tournaments taking place in iconic and historic locations of Istanbul. The Hearthstone competition will take place at Grand Bazaar, one the oldest and largest markets in the world, and TFT will take place at the vibrant Ortaköy Square.

The PUBG MOBILE finals will be split into two regional events to ensure the best possible experience for players, crowning Red Bull M.E.O. Season 3 Champions of East and West respectively, and will take place at the Haydarpaşa Train Station & Dock. Engaging events throughout the final will include an airdrop treasure hunt available in the PUBG MOBILE district. The finals will also offer virtual tours of some of the city’s most iconic locations including Sultanahmet Square and Galata Tower, video content and streams, interactive mini games, and more. Istanbul has already played host to the Red Bull M.E.O. National Finals for Turkey in July, a spectacular event which saw players compete from their cars on a moving ferry to ensure social distancing.

The high-stakes competition kicks off on March 20th with the global final for the fast-paced strategy card game Hearthstone. Truly open to all, the exciting Red Bull M.E.O. Season 3 Finals stream will see players compete in Riot Games’ auto battler TFT on March 27th. The thirteen day festival will host two competitions to crown the best PUBG MOBILE players on March 22nd (East), and March 29th (West), and some of the biggest pro organisations in the world battle rising stars from every corner of the globe who have proven themselves in national competitions.

Red Bull M.E.O. Season 3 has been the most successful yet, with more players than ever before competing in national events in 28 countries. Season 3 began in May 2020, and has seen more than 22,000 players around the world register to compete.

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Genesis Global partners with Wazdan to extend games offering to customers

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Genesis and Wazdan
Genesis and WazdanReading Time: < 1 minute

 

Players can now enjoy Wazdan slots on Genesis casino brands

Genesis Global have once again expanded their content of games by collaborating with popular slots provider Wazdan, to offer their customer the entire selection of games.

The partnership will mean Wazdan games are available on fourteen of Genesis’ online casino brands to players located in Sweden, UK and most of Europe, offering popular titles such as Magic Stars 9, Larry the Leprechaun and Space Spinstm. Players can enjoy more than 110 HTML5 games with tech-rich features such as Volatility Levels™, Energy Saving Mode, Double Screen Mode, Unique Gamble Feature, Ultra-Fast Mode, Ultra Lite Mode, and the newly released Big Screen Mode

“Genesis is excited to partner with Wazdan, allowing us to enhance and expand our player experience. It is fundamental for us to work with companies that share the same vision to provide high-quality online gaming experiences using the latest technological advancements.” Says Ariel Reem, CEO of Genesis Global.

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