License issuance leaves Ukraine gambling operators confused

Wooden judge gavel and aces on keyboard of laptop
Wooden judge gavel and aces on keyboard of laptop

The new Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (CRGL) in Ukraine was put in place to help shape the country’s online gaming industry and it has been busy putting together all the pieces of the puzzle. However, it still has more work to do, as Ukraine’s new Gambling Law is still being fine-tuned. This has led to some confusion among gaming operators, of which 15 have had their license applications rejected, who are trying to figure out how the CRGL could have turned them down when, at the same time, it approved a license for Speisiks LLC, the company behind the Cosmolot gaming brand. 

Last Wednesday, the commission awarded Speisiks a license to operate Cosmolot in the iGaming realm. It had previously held an instant lottery license, but stepped away from the activity almost two years ago. Other online gaming operators have been patiently waiting to receive updated guidance on several points regarding technical certification of the country’s new gambling laws, and are now wondering how the CRGL could have given Speisiks a license without that guidance having been delivered. 

The government of Ukraine has yet to implement “technical accreditation” requirements needed to satisfy certain aspects of iGaming, including which operating systems and software can be used, as well as what types of compliance controls are to be put into force. Without that information established, it isn’t clear how Speisiks was able to find approval, unless it had a helping hand from someone on the inside. It’s expected that the other gaming candidates who have found their applications rejected will file a legal challenge, possibly against both the CRGL and Speisiks, which could further hamper efforts to bring a legitimate iGaming market to the country.

The CRGL came into existence about three months ago and is already being viewed as incompetent to handle its responsibilities. This is enough to give the anti-gambling crowd fuel for their opposition and their argument that gambling only leads to corruption on all levels. Everyone is now requesting that better oversight be given to the industry and to CRGL, and 4H Agency CEO and Senior Partner Ulya Machavariani asserts, “Developments continue to gather pace in Ukraine; however, applicant parties still await vital information on technical certification to address legislation requirements. The next months will be critical in how a regulated market shapes up. Out of the blue, CRGL offered its first license this month, but greater transparency certainly could help the market.”