A member of KRAIL is under investigation for bribery allegations. The Gambling and Lottery Regulation Commission member is already in custody after they were arrested on bribery grounds to issue gambling licenses.
The National Anti-Corruption Bureau announced it arrested a KRAIL member over bribery allegations. It’s alleged the official accepted a $90,000 bribe to offer help in issuing a license.
The Bureau said the arrest comes after stealth investigations conducted over the summer this year. Investigations by the Bureau uncovered an illegal syndicate affiliated with the facilitation of issuing gambling licenses for various premises.
These premises are in the Zaporozhye region and the Chernihiv city. The documented evidence also revealed the licenses came at a cost of huge sums of money collected by one of the regulator’s members.
It’s yet to be clear who the KRAIL member is. But reports from the Bureau indicate the member was the “acting chairman of the Commission” when the offense was committed. This sprung several leaks with numerous media outlets speculating who the exact KRAIL member is. Some are already throwing Yevhen Hetman’s name around.
The Gambling and Lottery Regulation Commission was established in November 2020 as an independent organization. Its main task was to guide the new gambling regime in the country. Hetman came highly regarded as a member of the Commission after their time as a NATO delegate.
Their experience around international relations, running private and public enterprises as well collaborating with other regulators in the region were some of the strengths that led to his appointment.
The recent high-profile arrest dragged KRAIL’s reputation through the mud with stakeholders casting doubts over the entire licensing process. But the doubts aren’t making their first appearance.
Several operators already questioned the process after their applications were rejected. The biggest concern comes from the Commission’s lack of transparency when it comes to the reasons behind the rejections.
KRAIL opened the licensing process in February 2021 without a clear direction on the licensing fees, technical accreditation, and taxes. That led to a low number of online gambling operators receiving licenses. Only VBET, Parimatch, and Cosmolot have licenses to operate in the country since February.
Land-based casinos seem to have it easier than their online counterparts. This is after the gambling watchdog approved 40 applications. Seven of these properties are top-of-the-line hotels in Kyiv. The license allows them to operate in the country for five years.
In regards to taxes, July saw a controversial 10% flat tax on all gambling approved. But a parliamentary committee argued this would result in serious effects on the state and local budgets. The high taxes are aimed at minimizing consumption to mitigate the negative effects of gambling on society. The same month saw 594 illegal online gambling platforms shut down by KRAIL.