Darren Keane, CEO of Storm International, a global developer and operator of gaming and entertainment complexes, at the recent management meeting announced, that the company is considering investing into the Ukraine if the proper legislation, licensing and the tax rates are implemented by the government.
Currently there is an active discussion about the gaming business legalization in Ukraine, which has become very promising after the Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk officially expressed his support. Recently there were two conferences in Kiev, which gathered business representatives and government officials with the aim to find a balance between the needs of the state and the business. It was highlighted that the best case scenario would be that the future law requires the establishment of an independent gaming commission, which should be responsible for licensing, enforcing the law, controlling operators and closing illegal casinos.
The company management evaluates the trend as positive and sees some good potential in the Ukrainian gaming business; nonetheless it understands the risks and challenges of the local market.
"We need to understand, that the economy is not in the best condition at the moment and the Ukraine is surrounded by countries with legalized and well developed gaming markets, which would make junket tourism far less likely,” said Darren Keane. “However the local market has potential, considering that there is already a well-developed tourism and entertainment industry and Kiev itself is historically attractive for the citizens of neighboring countries. What we see now, is that the government would like a properly run gaming business combined with new foreign investment into the local economy. If that is the case, then we will be there."
Storm International has a hugely successful history of running casinos all over the world with its main focus on emerging markets. The company has extensive experience particularly in ex-Soviet Union countries and its flagship brand, Shangri La, is very well recognized in the region. These are the competitive advantages that allow efficient operations within the growing markets of the region.
Storm International Group runs gaming and entertainment facilities in various countries all over the world including Germany, Mexico, Armenia, Georgia, Byelorussia, Romania and Russia.
Shangri La brand casinos brighten the capital cities of Georgia, Armenia and Byelorussia and are the Group's current flagships.
The Group owns and manages Hollywood Entertainment with approximately 1000 slot machines in two large complexes in Monterrey, Mexico. It also has a chain of Storm Casino slot halls in Germany and Romania. The company operates restaurants and other entertainment complexes in Russia.