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Yury Mikhaylov about Gambling Regulations in CIS Countries

30 December 2020, 16:01
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It’s time to draw conclusions and share plans for a new season. Yury Mikhaylov, Sales Director CIS at BetGames.TV, exclusively for Login Casino, has told its readers about success in 2020, news the online gambling sector should expect, and the markets on which the supplier of the unique betting software will focus in 2021.

Yury Mikhaylov about Gambling Regulations in CIS Countries

Yury, could you tell us about how this year was for BetGames.TV?

In general, 2020 was rather successful for BetGames.TV. It is partially connected with the lockdown and canceled sports events. Punters have switched to our products because they are based on a similar principle of betting using coefficients. In addition to this, many players have moved to online from the land-based vertical. As a result, we got better rates than we had expected, entered new markets, for example, Georgia and Belarus.

A new СЕО, Andreas Köberl, has recently joined the team. We already feel that a new stage of development is waiting for the company. He implements innovative operational principles, communication strategy, has strengthened our efforts oriented towards sweeping new markets.

It was pleasant to get two prestigious international SBC awards. Aiste Garneviciene, Chief Operations Officer at BetGames.TV, was awarded as a leader of the year, and BetGames.TV – as the best company in the “Live Casino Supplier” category.

Does the company have great plans for the upcoming year? Are you going to enter new markets?

Let’s see what an upcoming year will bring us. It will depend on a global situation as well.

The negative effect of the departing year is connected with drops in people’s income throughout the world. As a result, the gambling industry’s revenue also declines. The average bet amount decreases, which means that people begin to cut down stakes.

However, the vaccine has already been invented, and European citizens begin to get it. We hope that the situation with bets will be getting better, together with the overall situation in the European countries where we operate as well.

We operate in the regulated CIS markets. We have entered Belarus as an online casino, previously being present here only in the betting segment. In this case, our product was among pioneers and achieved good results.

Georgia was the last market, which we entered in the CIS this year. It is a challenging market with high taxes. As for other countries, gambling is heavily regulated there, and it is impossible to operate officially.

Do you operate in the Russian market?

All types of gambling, except for sports betting, are prohibited in Russia, that is why we also don’t operate in this market. I think that it has a longtime perspective. Unfortunately, the country’s government has started to regulate the gambling industry heavily. New requirements for bookmakers will lead to the cancellation of many licenses. Huge payments will have to be made to the benefit of sports federations.

The Russian betting market should expect quite hard times. The regulated online gambling is prohibited in the country, that is why it doesn’t exist as a sector. The same situation is in Kazakhstan.

You actively operate in Belarus for already a year. Please tell us about your experience in the country and the players’ expectations.

We have a long history of our games’ presence in the Belorussian market. However, the peculiarity of the local legislation didn’t allow us to introduce all our games there, except for those connected with the lottery. With the legalization of the online casino vertical in the country, we got the opportunity to certify all our games. This led to positive results. At the current time, according to our partners’ estimates, our product shares the second-third position with slots, giving place only to sports bets.

This year has also brought negative moments connected with riots after elections in Belarus – Internet blocking on political grounds. However, in general, we see a monthly growth and hope that this tendency will remain next year.

What about the Ukrainian market? What plans does the company have?

We are getting ready for the opening of the Ukrainian market. We are looking forward to the first online operators appearing in the legal environment. We are also going to offer our gaming products. This CIS market is among the top priority markets for us now. We are acquainted with Ukrainian license holders and already work with them.

What is your market prognosis for the first half of the year? Are you ready to share short-term plans?

The general trend is the players’ move to mobile gaming. This involves all products, including ours. I suppose that 90-95% of bets will be made on smartphones. This tendency is irreversible, that is why, in 2020, we have done much work to adapt the company’s products to mobile devices. We have also launched new marketing software, added jackpots, cashback, and now we are implementing an automated system for organizing tournaments for players.

At the beginning of the next year, we are launching a new game. Our clients test it now. In January-February, we are going to offer it to all our partners. It will be an interesting and unusual game that doesn’t have counterparts in the market.

In addition to this, in 2021, we are going to introduce a new line-up of games at ICE. We will continue to develop and implement more marketing solutions. Our partners can expect a rich pool of marketing tools.

We want to enter new markets on a global scale – Asia, the American market, which is opening now. We will create unique products and find innovative trends for games. The company will also continue to develop tailor-made games for clients.

Which market is the most interesting for your company?

Asian countries, for example, India. These markets center around specific games and a big number of potential players. We develop customized games for such markets.

North America is another region that has potential. It is complicated in terms of regulation, certification, and integration, but we have reasons to suppose that it is already almost open, and we monitor its development thoroughly.

The African market still remains strong and emerging. We have impressive rates and leading positions there, but the company continues to develop and study the local sector.

How did the situation with Curacao influence the competitiveness in the online gambling market in general and your company’s operation in particular?

Many of our partners operate under the Curacao license. It will have an indirect impact because they will have to reconsider their relations with the regulator and decide whether to accept new licensing terms or change the jurisdiction.

Except for Curacao, there are lots of jurisdictions where operators can start a business. We don’t see special problems here, although some of our partners will have temporary difficulties.

Will other factors influence the competitiveness in the gambling market in 2021?

On a global scale, one of such factors is the damage to end-users, our players. The pandemic has affected almost all verticals negatively, including the gambling business.

At the same time, new technologies help online gambling to go through this period with minimum losses. The main battle is between brands for the integration in the new markets. Collaborations with social networks can help with this.

In addition to this, legislative initiatives in various markets have a serious and powerful impact. If a business is developing in a supportive environment, it will apply the latest technologies, for example, blockchain and crypto payments. Providers already use this in their products. However, some legislative proposals can destroy the business in a flash. Illustrative examples are Russia in 2019 and Kazakhstan in 2020.

I think that all countries should follow the example of the Belorussian market. It has quite a strict regulation but allows the business to develop. Regulations are even stricter in Georgia, however, the system makes it possible for companies to operate successfully. In Ukraine, the situation will change in the nearest future as we are waiting for the start of licenses issuing for operators.

What can you wish partners in the upcoming year?

As Sales Director CIS, I wish partners to operate in a country where the government doesn’t put pressure on a business but creates opportunities for its thriving. In the new year, the gambling sector, as well as other industries, will need support and help. Under such circumstances, the industry will bring profit to the state in the form of tax payments and new workplaces in particular and will offer more high-quality products to players.

Read more: Explanation of NGR and GGR in gambling

Read more: Current regulations for online gambling in Europe

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