After a 10-year ban on gambling in Ukraine, in the summer of 2019, they started talking about its possible legalization and return of the casino. In 2009, Ukraine, along with Russia, banned the casino at the legislative level. However, in the Russian Federation, they were transferred to separate zones specially allocated for this. And in Ukraine, lawmakers limited themselves to a simple ban, while establishing an incomprehensible status for halls with slot machines.
The change of state head became an occasion to raise the legalizing casinos issue in Ukraine. In August, the new president, V. Zelenskyy, announced that he plans to return the gambling business to the country. Having explained that this is beneficial for Ukraine and will allow developing the tourism sector in a quality manner. The Cabinet of Ministers has already begun to draft a bill that will take into account all parties’ interests.
So far, the bill is not yet completely ready. But some points have already been voiced. Gambling establishments are supposed to be launched on the hotels’ basis, mainly five-star, but possibly some four-star ones too. Particular attention will be paid to the equipment and used the software. Permission will be given to use only those products that meet international standards.
It is planned to introduce restrictions on the slot halls’ operation. Their uncertain status has become a problem. Now there is a dominance of such establishments throughout the country. Often they work under the national lottery guise and are adjacent to pawnshops. Such a scheme is detrimental to national welfare.
Prime Minister A. Goncharuk confirmed that special attention is being paid to solving the gaming halls problem. The rules for the bookmakers’ work will also undergo adjustment. Obtaining a license to provide betting services will cost between 400,000 – 1 300,000 pounds, depending on the location. A similar system will be introduced for the casino. At resorts, the cost will be lower so that operators are interested in developing a gambling business there.
The survey indicates that most citizens are positive about casino legalization. 47% of respondents supported the gambling business returning, while only 34% spoke out against the casino launching.
International operators are closely monitoring developments in order to take effect immediately after the law adoption. Storm International is one of the leading companies in the CIS. It manages popular gambling establishments and Shangri La casinos in Georgia, Belarus, Armenia, and Latvia and shows interest in the casino’s development in Ukraine. Changing the legislative framework and lifting the ban on casinos are beneficial for Ukraine, and the company has been waiting for this for a long time, said director Storm International, Darren Keane.
World practice shows that prohibitions contribute to the gambling business transition into the shadows. Honest operators are leaving the market. Corruption and problems with the law are developing. Therefore, Darren Keane from Storm International noted that he was glad that Ukraine was moving in the right direction. This will be a plus for the country citizens specializing in gambling, many of whom were looking for work abroad. The casinos of Minsk, Yerevan, Riga, and Tbilisi, which are managed by the company, employ a large number of Ukrainian people. They will certainly be pleased with the opportunity to continue working in their native country, closer to home and their family.
Other international operators with a good reputation are considering the opportunity to start activity in the gambling business in Ukraine. The general mood is very optimistic, as the country’s government promises to do everything in its power so that the newly opened casinos can begin full-fledged work from December 2020.
Now everyone is waiting with interest for accurate information about the license cost, as well as about the requirements that will be put forward to gambling establishments. A law that takes into account all market participants’ interests will benefit everyone: the state, gambling operators, casino workers, tourists, and players.