Ukraine Pushes Forward With Legislative Adaptation for 2020Published February 4, 2020 by Lee R
Regulation edges forward in the Ukraine, with deliberations on protective adaptation dominating the legislative process.
After some slight tweaks, Ukraine has cleared a key hurdle in legislative adaptation.
The Approval Vote
The breakthrough came with Thursday's approval by the 260 Verkhovna Rada Parliament members of the government’s revamped 2285-d gambling bill.
After an earlier version was rejected by a majority of the Rada five days before Christmas, the vote was sent back to committee for further adjustments. With the approval, the bill now moves forward to the second of three required readings.
Raising of the Minimum Age
The key adjustment in this draft is reportedly apparently the raising of the minimum age for gambling participation from 18 to 21 years.
Lingering Grey Area
However, no further legislative solutions were offered for the grey zone that some 5,300 slots parlors are operating in.
The bill caps the total number of slots permitted to 40k, with the slots limited in placement to hotels with ratings of at least three stars: added limits will be placed on venues located near designated sensitive areas such as schools, churches, etc.
Sliding License Fees
License fees are applicable according to verticals: a hybrid online/land-based sports betting permit costs 120,000 in so-called “monthly minimum wages,” currently set at UAH4,710 (roughly US$195) which calculates out to $23.4m for the five-year permits; while online casino licenses are set at 62,500 in minimum wages and online poker operators pay a substantially lighter 2,500 minimum wages.
The only hints on tax structure are visible in a January 3 bill filed by Ukrainian legislators reducing gambling tax rates from 18% of gross gaming revenue to 10%, which also reportedly includes a tax exemption on tax winnings for the players themselves.
President Speaks Policy
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky attributed the need for the strict adaptations and policy to resistant illegal gaming operators continue to refuse to “play by transparent rules.”
The legislation comes on the heels of a crackdown in Ukraine on these operators, with Ukrainian authorities shutting down over 900 venues across the country, centered primarily on lottery operations based on illegal slot machine activity.
No doubt, the second and third readings will require practical adaptations of policy in a strict enforcement environment, but it looks like Ukraine could have its model perfected and running in 2020.