Recently a new bill was introduced in the country’s legislation which would legalize casino gambling in all three to five-star hotels situated in the country. The bill will also legalize online gambling. This is expected to bring an increase in tax revenue to the government coffers estimated at $200-$300 million.
According to the local Minister of Finance, Oksana Markarova, this estimate is still very conservative. She also stated that this proposed bill had been submitted for approval to the Verkhovna Rada, which is the unicameral parliament in Ukraine. The goal is to get the bill approved for the estimated revenue to be included in the draft budget for 2020.
Ukraine Betting History
Up until as recent as 2009, gambling was considered to be legal within the country. The government of the time criminalized the practice. Since then, legislators have been busy with various attempts to get it to be permitted once again. Yet nothing has been successful up to now. Their hope is currently anchored in Volodymyr Zelensky. Shortly after his successful presidential campaign, the former comedian announced that his goal is to legalize gambling once again to be able to clamp down better on the black market of illegal gambling.
He followed up on his announcement when the presidential administration was instructed to draft a new bill that would legalize gambling and be able to regulate all casino-style gambling activities. This instruction was passed on to them in September and had to be completed by the 1st of October. It is this proposal that received the stamp of approval earlier this month from the cabinet of Ministers.
The Bill Details
The bill which is currently due for approval by the Verkhovna Rada is expected to be approved by no later than the 1st of December. Both Minister Markarova as well as the Prime minister of Ukraine, Oleksii Honcharuk was in charge of the task team drafting the bill.
The bill requests that all slot machines based in the country’s three, four and five-star hotels should be legal. Furthermore, the legalization of full-scale casinos at five-star hotels are also requested. Some reports also state that it would legalize online gambling and slot halls, as long as that these aren’t situated close to many schools, churches, hospitals or residential apartment buildings. Only a limited number of slot machines will be allowed within the country, currently stating the number as 40 000 machines.
The number of devices in any location will also be limited to 250 per venue. For any hotel to be able to operate like a casino, it would need a minimum number of rooms of 150. The bill also states the penalization of illegal online gambling and anyone not adhering to these will face up to five years imprisonment.