On August 11, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy signed the law on gambling, which was previously approved by the members of the Verkhovna Rada. Now in Ukraine the activities of casinos and bookmakers (including on the Internet), slot machine halls and the organization of online poker will be allowed.
What Does The Final Version Of The Law On Legalization Provide?
The opportunity to participate in gambling will be available to persons at least 21 years of age. All participants will be required to undergo mandatory personal identification (including for online games). Disabled or partially disabled people, organizers of games, persons who may know about the result of the game or influence it will not be able to play. Athletes and sports personnel will not be allowed to place bets on the results of competitions in which they are participating.
Casinos will appear in 5-star hotels in Kyiv with at least 200 rooms, in Odesa, Kharkiv, Dnipro and Lviv – with at least 120 rooms, and in 4-star hotels in other cities with at least 100 rooms. The cost of a casino license is different. In Kyiv, it will be $ 2 million per year, in the provinces – $ 1 million.
Bookmakers can be placed in hotels of three to five stars with rooms from 50 rooms in Kyiv and from 25 in other cities, in buildings where such hotels are located, and at hippodromes. The halls of slot machines can be created on the territory of hotels of the categories “three stars”, “four stars” and “five stars” with at least 50 rooms for Kyiv and 25 for other cities. The cost of the license is about 250 thousand dollars, plus you will have to pay about 100 dollars for each machine per month.
Online casinos and online poker will also be allowed, for each site you will have to pay about $ 200 thousand to the budget, but in poker clubs gambling is still banned, this is a prerogative exclusively for casinos.
Companies registered in Ukraine with an authorized capital of at least UAH 30 million will be able to engage in gambling business, while they cannot be residents or ultimate beneficiaries of the “aggressor state”.
To regulate this area of activity, a special state body will be created – the Commission for the Development and Regulation of Gambling, consisting of 7 people. It will be able to track bets, winnings, chip sales, and tax revenue streams in real time, and will keep track of players. At the same time, the Cabinet and the profile committee of the Verkhovna Rada received the same rights to create it. Because of this, an ambiguous interpretation has arisen, which may interfere with the normal operation of the law.
Thus, the organizers of gambling will have to ensure the identification of the players. The Commission will have unlimited access to personalized data of players in the online monitoring system via the Internet in online mode (excluding the Register of players’ self-restrictions). In a gambling establishment, including online, the player must be identified: in the casino itself – on the basis of the original identity card. And if online – by a scanned copy of an identity card, electronic digital signature and other methods of personal identification.
It is interesting that those who have a pronounced addiction should not be allowed into gambling establishments. Citizens will be able to independently limit themselves to visiting gambling complexes and participating in gambling for a period of six months to three years. To do this, you will need to personally submit a written statement of self-restraint to the gambling organizer or the Authorized Body and present an identity document. Such an application can be submitted in written or electronic format.
If participation in gambling harms a player or his family, leads to a difficult financial situation, such a player may be restricted from visiting gambling establishments and participating in gambling for a period of six months to three years by a court decision.
In addition, the gambling organizer must not give the player the opportunity to play in debt or with payment by installments.
As part of the special fund of the State Budget of Ukraine, a Fund for the Support of Medicine, Sports and Culture will be created, the revenues of which are formed from license payments in the field of gambling.
For example, lotteries will sponsor culture, betting networks – sports, online gambling – medicine, licenses of companies serving the gambling business – education and science. It is noted that 50% of funds from licenses for gambling in casinos and slot machine halls will go to the central budget and 50% to the corresponding local budget.
What The Experts Think
Market experts have long been talking about the need to legalize casinos and gambling in Ukraine. World practice shows that this area still exists in all states, even with serious bans. But working in the shadows, it does not bring income to the state and does not give any guarantees to the participants in the process, which worsens the criminal situation.
Michael Boettcher’s Storm International, which operates a casino chain in Eastern Europe, has long been talking about the need for such a step for Ukraine. The holding also spoke about its readiness to enter the market with its licensed high quality products and about the ability to work in accordance with high international standards.
Also Darren Keane, Storm International director, has repeatedly mentioned that legalization will be useful for Ukrainian citizens. They will receive many high-paying jobs. Many will be able to return from abroad, where they left for the purpose of looking for work. For example, in Shangri La casino there are a lot of employees from Ukraine. And now they can return to their homeland, working closer to family and home.
The Ukrainian market has a lot to offer players, assessed the capabilities Darren Keane, Storm International highly appreciates the country’s potential.