News media regularly inform about closures of illegal casinos in Ukraine by police. However, sports betting is prospering. Though it is also illegal, some law tricks help bookmakers work under lottery licenses. This market can be considered semi-legalized, because with payoffs, players pay taxes, and bookmakers themselves sponsor entire sports leagues and individual teams, reports http://www.theinsider.ua.
The monthly turnover of bookmakers in Ukraine is about $ 100 million. So, who owns the largest bookmakers services in Ukraine?
The bookmaker office of FavBet was founded in 1999 in Ukraine and operates under the “Favorite-Sport” brand. In the register of the Ministry of Justice its activity is legalized as “lotery-toto” – a product of the company “Ukrainian National Lottery” (UNL). The founder of UNL was the honorary consul of the Republic of the Philippines Valery Kovalenko, until recently the owner of the company was his assistant Sergei Pindich. Some media often wrote about his partnership with the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, Alexander Turchinov. It is thanks to the decision of this agency that the other two operators “Patriot” and “MLL” came under sanctions, so UNL has remained a monopolist in the market since 2015.
Bookmaker office Pari Match has been working since 1994. It is oriented to the Russian-speaking countries of the former USSR. Like most bookmakers, it has the license of Curacao, which carries out international activities. This jurisdiction is known as one of the oldest providers of online gambling services. In Ukraine, Pari Match is not included in the lottery list, but the mention about similar company exists in a single state register of legal entities. Among the types of its activities there is gambling. This bookmaker sponsors a number of sports competitions, including the football Premier League and the Ukrainian Hockey Federation. The owners of Pari-match LLC are Eduard Shvindlerman and Tatyana Belorusskaya. The woman also holds stakes in the companies “Ternopilteplo”, “Izumrud” and “Fundament-2006”.
The bookmaker office “FanSport” appeared in 2016. Registered in Curaçao, it is also focused on the Ukrainian market. The company is not listed as a license holder in Ministry of Justice of Ukraine. The bookmaker has a small number of betting points in a number of Ukrainian cities. FanSport is a partner of the Dynamo Kyiv football club. The official owner is an offshore from the Netherlands Antilles Fan Betting N.V. This bookmaker also takes place in the case, which is conducted by the SBU (Security Service of Ukraine) on the facts of illegal conduct of the gambling business and the financing of terrorism.
The only bookmaker, which has been sanctioned, but continues to operate both offline and online, is “Sportliga” under the license of “MSL”. The company’s activities in Ukraine are limited by the NSDC . In August 2014, former Minister of Finance of Ukraine Alexander Shlapak said that the owners of the company are minority shareholders of Russia’s Alfa Group. Based on these data, the SBU proposed to ban the “lottery”. The company itself still insists that it has nothing to do with Russian business.
Now the beneficiaries of MSL are the top manager of the company Ivan Zaliznyak, the well-known financial lawyer Danil Getmantsev and the Cypriot Marcos Shapanis through the “offshore” Evolot Limited.
The Bazabet office was founded in Ukraine in 2017, it is listed in the state register as a lottery from UNL. It has many landbased betting desks in the country, although the majority of bets are processed through an online service. The bookmaker sponsors individual sports events and championships, including American football and motorcycle races. Bazabet conducts business through the company “Ukrloto Center”. Among its beneficiaries are Cypriots Kristakis Konnaris and Panikos Sumeyu. The list of beneficiaries also includes Scottish offshore Unolux Communications L.P.