Opening Up For Business: Ukraine Legalizes GamingPublished August 17, 2020 by Lee R
With a private company already committed to the new market, the Ukraine market should develop quickly.
Let the games in Ukraine begin soon.
Gambling's official status as legal came into being after President Volodymyr Zelensky signed Ukraine's Gambling Act into law on the 11th of August.
This action confirmed bill 2285-D which reached the President's desk for final approval after Ukraine parliament Verkhovna Rada passed it in the second reading by a vote of 248-95.
The bill calls for legalisation of online gambling, bookmaking, slot halls and land-based casinos, with casinos relegated to hotels.
Approved by the Committee on Finance, Tax and Customs Policy, the bill calls for license fees of UAH30.7m (£906,000/€1.0m/$1.1m) for online gaming, payable upon licence renewal every five years. Other fees include for bookmaker licences (UAH70.8m); casinos in hotels in Kyiv (UAH121.6m); outside Kiev (UAH70.8m; and online poker (UAH23.7m).
Fees will remain three times higher until the implementation of Ukraine’s Online Monitoring System within 30 months of market launch.
Updating the First Draft
The rejected version of the bill banned on Ukraine-licensed operators from advertising online or via third-party marketing including affiliates, a clause ultimately removed by the Finance and Tax Committee.
Originally introduced by Oleg Marusyak in October 2019, the bill initially failed at a December reading two months later. The bill pulled through shortly after in reading number 2 in January 2020 as a result of protective amendments centered around raising legal gambling age to 21.
President as Proponent
President Zelensky has long favored regulated gambling in Ukraine to reduce illegal gambling, as first asserted within a government bill that would have allowed gambling only at hotels.
Private Entry Commitment
Ukraine-based Easter European operating mainstay Parimatch announced its intention to bid for an operating licence when the process opens with a ringing endorsement, with Parimatch chief executive Sergey Portnov's assertion that “the development of a fair and regulated betting industry will really benefit Ukraine.”
Before the bill comes into effect, the Rada must now approve a taxation policy for gambling. This policy is sure to focus reducing the vulnerability of problem gamblers: it will be interesting to see how much Ukraine emulates existing gaming reforms elsewhere models versus what innovative approaches they introduce to the industry.