Each third gambling business in Ukraine owned by foreign entity - analysis
More than a third of companies with gambling licences in Ukraine belong to foreign beneficiaries, according to an analysis by YouControl, a business consultancy.
Out of 57 licensed gambling businesses in Ukraine, which were registered in 2021 and 2022, 20 had residents of other countries as beneficiaries.
Those include large international companies such as the Austrian slot machines manufacturer Novomatic, SYNOT Group from Czechia, the Dutch online casino solutions provider Stakelogic, and Canada-based NSUS Group.
Among other cases, Estonia-based Bombay Group OÜ owns Bombay Kyiv LLC, and the iGaming industry content provider Pragmatic Play controls Pragmatic Play Ukraine LLC.
Four gambling businesses featured in the YouControl analysis – including those behind popular online casinos Joker and 1XBET – have had their licences revoked due to links to Russia, the aggressor country.
However, per YouControl, another two entities – Premier Palace Casino LLC and Gaming Club Lord LLC – are still operating in Ukraine that may be tied to Russia-based VS Energy group.
Curiously, the analysis also revealed that a few gaming networks belong to the same Ukrainian owners.
For instance, four entities operating under the brands FIRST CASINO, 1CASINO, and F are owned by Ukrainian entrepreneurs Serhii Bielyk and Artem Yushkov, with the latter controlling the operator of FIRST RAY slot machines.
Andrii Matiukha, who owns the Favbet group, recently founded another company, Billionaire Casino Company, that operates a licence for the Billionaire 1 casino, and co-owner of the ChampionCasino online casino Ruslan Drozdov used to be a partner in another gaming company, Asset Group LLC.
Gambling was illegal in Ukraine until 2021, when a law passed by the Ukrainian parliament provided for operation of such businesses through special licences.