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Ukraine – President Zelensky receives draft bill for new Ukraine casino industry

By - 1 October 2019

A proposed bill allowing for the reintroduction of casinos into Ukraine has been presented to President Zelensky and will be discussed with his newly elected Cabinet of Ministers shortly.

The bill states that ‘gambling will be conducted exclusively on the territory of hotels, with use of gambling equipment with software that meets international standards.’

The bill was drafted by the government on behalf of the President, said Prime Minister of Ukraine Olexiy Hontscharuk. Its goal is to remove slot machines and arcades from streets level and allow casinos to be set up in five star hotels.
The President wants the proposals approved by December 1, 2019.

Prime Minister Hontscharuk said: “The government has drafted a bill on the President’s instructions and we voted it on Sunday, it will be tabled in parliament in the next few days. The bill spells out how we propose to regulate gambling, and lotteries will be regulated separately. But the main goal is to remove slot machines from the streets.”

Currently only lotteries are allowed to operate in the country. Introduced in 2012, the legislation that covers them have no scope to regulate holders of state-issued lottery licenses, meaning some have opened gambling halls under the pretence of lotteries.

Casinos were banned in 2009. Analysts believe a legalised land-based casino sector could generate taxation of €170m per year and revenue of US$1.5bn.

President Zelensky has previously said: “We will legalise gambling, namely the operation of casinos in five-star hotels, which will stimulate the development of the tourism cluster of the region near the Black Sea.”

Ukraine lawyers Olga Belyakova, Mykola Heletiy and Maria Orlyk added: “Currently, the gambling industry in Ukraine operates in a grey zone with organisers employing different strategies to legally bypass the ban. President Zelensky’s recently announced initiative could help resolve the issue of illegal gambling in Ukraine, but legalisation will not be possible until Ukraine’s parliament passes a relevant law.”

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