Founder of Rating of Bookmakers online portal Paruyr Shahbazyan: “When there is a competition, we can earn more – that’s obvious”

Founder of Rating of Bookmakers online portal Paruyr Shahbazyan: “When there is a competition, we can earn more – that’s obvious”

Meet the new episode of UGW Insider podcast and its guest – Paruyr Shahbazyan, founder of Rating of Bookmakers online portal. Traditionally, an interview with the expert was conducted by Lavrentiy Gubin, Brand Ambassador of Ukrainian Gaming Week 2021.

As part of the podcast, Paruyr listed the trends that are valid for the betting market today and described how the COVID-19 pandemic affected this business niche. He explained whether the presence of a large number of gambling organizers is important for the development of the industry and also assessed the specifics of licensing online casinos and betting operators in Ukraine.

The interviewer: Lavrentiy Gubin (L.G.)

The respondent: Paruyr Shahbazyan (P.S.)

L.G.: I would like to talk about the betting market. What are its main trends?

P.S.: The main trend, I think, is regulation. That is, we see that more and more countries regulate gambling. This is probably not a new trend, but I have noticed such surge in the countries of the former Soviet Union. Something is happening everywhere: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan...

For example, a couple of days ago the Kazakh version was blocked in Kazakhstan. Users from Kazakhstan could no longer access the website because there was an ad for a casino. We talked with the authorities and found out that this was the reason, and now we will remove the links to the casino. We'll probably leave the reviews.

I mean, the legislation is changing, and the implementation of this legislation is also now in an active phase.

L.G.: What do you think about the Ukrainian betting market? New licensing has been introduced recently, tax rates, license costs are quite high.

P.S.: Yes, it is interesting that there was a division of all types of activities. Usually casinos and betting come under the same license. Everything was divided in Ukraine. Thus, each type of activity has its own license. Poker is separately licensed. I even saw that B2B is licensed, which is very interesting.

I can say that it is striking that the online casino license, or rather the annual payment for a casino license, is several times less than for betting. It is not clear to me why that was done. Until 2016, we worked with international betting companies on Revenue Share – you receive a commission for the money spent by users, the amount is fixed. And according to Revenue Share, we saw in reports that equal proportion of money comes from casinos and betting. And it is not clear to me why a casino license is several times cheaper.

L.G.: Some say that this was done in order to reduce the number of operators and, let's say, keep the larger ones.

P.S.: Yes, I also assumed that this is some kind of a threshold.

L.G.: What do you think about such idea, such concept? In your opinion, what’s better – many operators on the market or a limited number of them?

P.S.: I think we cannot argue with the fact that competition increases the level of service. It would naturally be good for users if there were many bookmaking companies.

For me personally, as an owner of an affiliate business, it is also important that there are many betting companies. When there is a competition, we can earn more – that’s obvious.

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L.G.: What trends did the pandemic bring to the bookmaking business? Has the business grown? Considering that sports has been limited within the last year.

P.S.: Yes, sports was limited, but it was absent, if I am not mistaken, in April, May, and since June, it has been returning. Betting providers started accepting bets on esports during the pandemic. That is, everything is called esports now, any bets on computer games.

In fact, classic esports is Dota, Counter-Strike – these disciplines. When two people sit and play FIFA, this is also called esports today, although, in my opinion, it is not. This is a substitute for the usual sports. So, if I don't have football, I watch two people play FIFA... That's what became widespread.

A trend towards online. We saw big brands cut land-based betting points because everything was closed. People were forced to install apps or go to the web.

In general, according to the reports, we saw that betting business did not lose anything, it even grew slightly in 2020.

L.G.: What would you wish for Ukrainian business and Ukrainian bookmakers?

P.S.: First of all, I congratulate you on the regulation. I think this is a good step.

As a result, any company and owner of the company see their benefit in the capitalization of the business. The only value that large Ukrainian companies working and earning on this market had was their dividends, the money earned. There is no capitalization on the unregulated market. Therefore, this is a very positive change for the companies. So, they will get capitalization even when their revenue is completely transparent.

And a wish... I think that it’s better to avoid thresholds and barriers and compete more with the quality of the product. Although, if you ask me, if I had the opportunity to make Rating of Bookmakers the only resource in the world with the help of legislation, probably, I would also use this opportunity.

So I wish everyone good luck! I repeat, the changes are positive. Everything will be fine for the market.

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