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Insights from ICE 2024 and the future of the Eastern European gambling market


In Insights Posted

By Viktoriya Zakrevskaya, Director, Qorvis

In early February, London played host to ICE 2024, heralded as the world’s premier gambling event. This annual international forum serves as a nexus for both online and offline sectors, attracting industry leaders from across the globe.

ICE 2024 served as a crucial platform for industry leaders to convene and explore the evolving landscape of the global gambling market. The discussions shed light on the challenges and promising opportunities facing Central and Eastern European countries, with a particular focus on Ukraine’s burgeoning gambling sector.

Viktoriya Zakrevskaya speaking at ICE 2024 in London.

Viktoriya Zakrevskaya (second from left) speaking at ICE 2024 in London.

As a delegate representing the Ukrainian Gambling Council, I had the privilege of participating in a thought-provoking roundtable discussion focused on the future landscape and growth prospects of gambling markets in Central and Eastern Europe.

Our discourse delved into a myriad of technical complexities, particularly accentuated by the nascent nature of Eastern European markets. Notably, countries like Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Romania are nearing completion in their legalization processes, having resolved many pertinent issues. This stands in stark contrast to Ukraine, which grapples with both an information deficit and significant investor interest—and the war at the same time.

Viktoriya Zakrevskaya (center) with fellow delegates at ICE 2024.

Despite ongoing conflicts, investors continue to recognize the boundless potential of the Ukrainian market. However, lingering uncertainties, particularly surrounding tax matters and regulatory clarity, pose deterrents to foreign investment. Additionally, unresolved issues such as sanctions and account seizures against major Ukrainian operators like Parimatch and Cosmolot underscore prevailing challenges in this regard.

The impending adoption of draft law No. 2713-d by the parliament holds promise in rectifying these issues and bolstering investor confidence in Ukraine’s gambling market. This legislative milestone is poised to unlock Ukraine’s potential as a prominent hub in European gambling circles, safeguarding against potential setbacks to anti-corruption reforms initiated by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

As stakeholders continue to navigate the dynamic regulatory environment and capitalize on emerging trends and innovations, collaboration and strategic foresight will be essential in unlocking the full potential of these markets.

Viktoriya Zakrevskaya is a Director at Qorvis. Now based in Switzerland, she spent 10 years working in Ukraine and Eastern Europe, notably as a founding member and Deputy Chairwoman for Communications at the Ukrainian Gambling Council in Kyiv.