Voting on the bill on gambling in Ukraine

The legalization of gambling is almost the main topic in Ukraine today. The intensity the leading managers of the country promote it with gives the impression of an early resolution of the issue. Nevertheless, despite all the hype surrounding the sore topic, there is still no result.

There are many opinions on how to properly organize a gambling business in the country. Lively discussions on this issue are fostered by government and alternative bills.

In the second half of the month, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine may consider in a first reading a bill on the legalization of gambling. As Ukrainian News writes, the head of the “Servant of the People” faction, David Arahamia, spoke about this at a briefing in parliament.

In accordance with his speech, this can happen if the revised document is approved by the Committee on Finance, Tax, and Customs Policy.

As noted by Arahamia, a total of eight bills on the legalization of gambling business has been registered in the Rada: one prepared by the government, and seven alternative ones.

It should be reminded that the ban on gambling in Ukraine was introduced in 2009. Since that time, casinos, slot machines, and sports betting have become illegal. Two years later, a ban on online casinos was introduced. However, the ban is not valid and has led to the occurrence of a shadow gambling market. According to the deputies, about five thousand illegal gaming halls operate in the country.

On September 2, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky instructed the government and the parliamentary majority to develop and by December 1, 2019, adopt a law on the legalization of gambling in the country.

On behalf of the president, the government developed a bill “On state regulation of activities in the organization and conduct of gambling,” which is currently under consideration in the country’s parliament. The document proposes to permit the issuance of 20 licenses for managing land-based casinos, 5 licenses for managing poker clubs, 10 licenses for online casinos and online betting shops, 5 licenses for online poker gambling sites. In addition, 80 licenses will be issued for opening betting offices betting shops, ten for each license.

The initial cost of licenses for casinos, which will be played at electronic auctions, is proposed to be set at 18,700 monthly living wages for an able-bodied person per year (approx. Ed. – 1936 hryvnias – from July 1, 2019) for Kyiv and 12,400 “minimum wages” – for other settlements. In addition, casino organizers will be required to pay an annual fee of 730 “minimums” for each roulette, 375 “minimums” for any other gaming table and 15 “minimums” for each slot machine. Casino organizers are required to have a bank guarantee or a deposit of at least 7,200 “minimum wages”.

The minimum cost of one of ten licenses for an online casino or online betting office is proposed to be set at 12,400 monthly subsistence minimums.

According to the state budget for 2020, the Ukrainian government expects that gambling revenues will amount to more than 4 billion UAH.

The final figures for expected budget revenues will depend on which edition of the deputies will pass the law, the website of the Ukrainian government says.