Ukraine’s Gambling Industry to Generate $300m

  • Ukraine expects to claim up to $300 million in gambling revenue
  • Government of President Zelensky pushes for prompt legalization by December 1, 2019
  • The country will allow no more than 40,000 slot machines at first and issue specific criteria about the eligible venues

Ukraine’s government is pushing to legalize gambling by December 1, 2019 creating an opportunity for the country to claim up to $300 million from the industry.

Ukraine Expects up to $300m from Gambling Revenue

Following news that Ukraine is going to officially regulate gambling, the country’s government has pushed for early financial estimates from the activity. According to the Ministry of Finance and Ukrainian MinisterofFinance Oksana Markarova, a legalized gambling industry could contribute anything between $192.8 million and $300 million revenue to the state’s coffers.

Ukraine filed for a legalized gambling industry in October when lawmakers brought a draft bill drafted by Markarova and Ukraine’s Prime Minister Oleksii Honcharukat to the Verkhovna Rada, the country’s parliament. The proposed legislation was first voted by cabinet ministers in September and then backed by the President Volodymyr Zelensky on October 14.

Based on the draft bill, Ukraine wants to push gambling rapidly across multiple venues. Presently, the draft law suggests that slot machines and other forms of gambling entertainment will available at 3, 4 and 5-star hotels as well as other casinos and venues purposed specifically for such activities.

Addressing the Problem of Wide-Spread Illegal Gambling

The Government has set out an ambitious plan to clamp down on illegal gambling, which currently plagues Ukraine. When Russia annexed Crimea, Kiev was already targeting illegal gambling in the region. After the annexation, however, Russia has decied to try and revitalize the region, specifically with the help of the casino business.

Online gambling activities remain unregulated, the government pointed out, and in light of that, efforts to limit the harm caused and revenue lost to illegal activities are underway. The bill got immediate approval by government ministers in September.

The now likely-to-become-law bill will establish the minimum criteria that a venue needs to meet in order to host gambling establishments. Any property in Kiev would need at least 200 hotel rooms to apply and as to cities outside the capital, 150-room properties will be eligible for a license application.

Ukraine shut down all gambling across the board in the country in 2009, keeping just the lotteries run by the state. The move led to a quick spreading of illegal activities that cannot be properly gauged due to lack of interest, vetted interests and no proper regulatory body.

Keeping a Close Eye on the Market

The newly-proposed law intends to regulate the full spectrum of the activity. Other than determining what venues are eligible for a license, the draft law will also limit the slot machines allowed nation wide to 40,000 with no more than 250 slot machines per venue.

Zelensky said earlier this month that he expects the legislation to be finalized by December 1, 2019 and the country to establish a regulator which will start issuing licenses to eligible applicants.

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