How Is the Gambling Industry Doing in Ukraine?

Ukraine is one of the many countries around the world that only legalized certain forms of gambling. It was only until recently that the Senate passed the legislation on the approval of the Gambling Bill. The Bill contains the number of licenses allowed to operate in the country and the requirements that these licenses must fulfill to become legal.

In 2009, an incident led to Ukraine's decision to criminalize gambling. Because of the event, the government had to shut down the casinos and gambling halls, creating a decrease in the revenue of the gambling businesses in Ukraine.

Although the government already announced a shutdown, underground gambling businesses still thrived, and illegal betting operations continued to grow. However, when President Volodymyr Zelensky took office, he ordered the reopening and legalization of the country's gambling industry.

Provisions of the Ukraine Gambling Bill

Under the provision of the Gambling Bill, legislators requested only for the legalization of the casinos under hotels. However, the recently published text says that online casinos, online sports betting, and even local sports betting should also be legal.

Following the legalization, the government will only allow a certain number of licenses for all the forms of gambling. The country will only issue 10 licenses for online casinos and five licenses for online poker. The government will also allow 80 retail betting licenses. For the land-based casinos, it should only be under hotels. There will be 20 licenses up for grabs for the land-based casinos.

The hotels that will house the land-based casinos should be five-star hotels with a minimum of 200 rooms. The government is expecting that Kyiv will accommodate some of the gambling sites and the other casinos would spread out in the country.

Along with the licenses of the land-based casinos in Ukraine, licensing fees of a minimum of $1.5 million per year are also among the legislation's recommendations. Aside from the licensing costs of the land-based casinos, online casinos and online sports betting sites will also have a licensing fee of a minimum of $1 million per year. The license fees are suitable for a five-year term.

The Seven Additional Alternative Bills

After the first Bill got introduced in the parliament, seven other alternative bills also sprout from different deputies. The Bills were all different from each other – others proposing not to legalize the Bill and that gambling needs more laws.

After a few weeks, three more alternative bills got introduced in the parliament, making a total of 11 initial drafts. After a couple of meetings, the parliamentary committee finally decided that they will only consider one of the alternative bills. However, all the alternative Bills did not pass in December 2019 reading.

President Zelensky then ordered to shut down all illegal gambling establishments following the reading after realizing that a particular group of powerful gamblers caused the reading's adverse outcome. In January 2020, the Bill finally passed from the parliamentary committee.

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