Eastern Europe companies speak about their regulated markets at SBC Summit Barcelona

On a particular panel, Eastern European companies spoke about the latest regulations, problems, and market conditions as part of the SBC Summit Barcelona, which took place in Spain on September 20-22.

Irakli Davarashvili (CMO, Adjarabet), Anna Motruk (Deputy CEO, Parimatch), Adam Lamentowicz (CEO, Superbet Poland), Sergey Potapov (CEO, Cosmolot), Dan Ghita (President, RomBet), as well as Lasha Machavariani (Founder and CEO of SBC CIS and Sports Holding Media) participated in the “Ukraine, CIS & Eastern Europe – defying the headwinds” special panel.

The Ukrainian company Parimatch has to face a crisis amid the ongoing war in the country. 

“That was expected to decrease 30% in GDP because of the crisis, with huge inflation – 60% for now. However, the crisis also is a time for opportunities and people are active, everything is developing, and everyone continues to do business.” – Motruk said. 

She also noted that since the gambling legalization in Ukraine in the summer of 2020, the local government supports the industry, reduces many taxations, and regulates advertising issues, the business operates at high speed, the only problem is that the tax code has not yet been adopted.

In particular, Parimatch became the first company to receive a betting license in Ukraine and is now actively developing in other countries. Motruk also noted that they recently applied for a license in Romania.

The Romanian market is growing, the legal framework is very stable, there are around 30 online operators, and this year will probably have 2-3 more. The market probably will finish this year with € 1 billion GGR, considering the fact that the Romanian legal market starts in 2016 – quite a new legislation. 

In the country, there are 250 slot operators, which operate around 17 000 machines and the state lottery has around 7 000 machines, three live casinos, 25 betting companies, and five bingo companies. 

“The market itself is very mature. In July, minor changes were made to the tax legislation. It is clear that gambling brings a lot of money to the state budget, so we need to create a better environment for big companies to invest in. That was the aim of the government.” Ghita noted. 

Unlike the above-mentioned countries, Poland regulated only betting. According to Adam Lamentowicz, the casino is under the state lottery monopoly, and the black market is blooming and difficult to compete with – offshore companies have 60% of the entire market.

The market GGR is approximately € 500 million, while the NGR is € 200 million. 

“Another problem is that we have to work with legislation that was created in 1992. The world has changed a lot since then. In 2016, some things were improved, but I think that now is the time to make huge changes,” Lamentowicz added.

This year Georgia and Armenia have faced new regulations. Gambling advertising has been banned in both countries since March and September respectively. In total, about 1 million people have been banned from gambling in Georgia, including people under 25, civil servants, and many others.

“We believe that restrictions give us the opportunity to create something innovative and new. However, according to forecasts, the market has decreased by about 15-20% during this time, however, we don’t have exact figures yet,” Davarashvili said.

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