Spaceiks LLC has become the first licensed online gambling operator in Ukraine under the country’s 2020 Gambling Act. The company’s application was approved by the Ukrainian Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (KRAIL) on Tuesday.
Spaceiks must now pay a UAH 30.7 million (around $1.1 million) licensing fee and will in turn be granted a five-year online gambling license.
KRAIL has several important requirements for applicants. Prior to the approval of Spaceiks, five other companies were outright rejected by the gambling authority due to incorrect execution of the necessary documents.
Spaceiks itself was rejected a total of three times until the commission finally gave its approval. Initially, KRAIL requested additional information and clarity on the online gambling operator’s ownership structure. This is tied to specific requirements listed in the 2020 Gambling Act itself.
Ukraine Re-Legalizes Gambling Following Decade-Long Ban
Ukraine’s new Gambling Act was introduced by the Ukrainian Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, on 11 August 2020. The bill was approved at its second reading with a landslide 248-95 approval from the Parliament.
Prior to this, gambling was entirely prohibited across the country. The Ukrainian Parliament reached the decision to outlaw all forms of gambling in 2009, following a gambling hall fire that resulted in nine deaths.
The legislature re-legalized multiple important forms of gambling in the country, including online gambling and slot halls. Land-based casinos were also made legal, provided that they are situated in hotels.
However, Ukrainian operators do face certain limitations. Firstly, operators need a license from the KRAIL. And secondly, businesses with Russian shareholders or Ultimate Beneficial Owners (UBOs) need not apply.
It is still unclear how these newly accepted forms of gambling would be taxed. Ukraine’s most recent tax bill, 2713-D, proposed a 5% GGR tax for bookmakers, 10% for online gambling and lotteries and 12.5% for slots.
However, the country is currently deciding between four different tax proposals.