Officially, there has been no casino in Ukraine since 2009, since the country, together with Russia, outlawed the gambling business. Subsequently, Russia moved the casino to specially designated recreational areas, and in Ukraine remained a taboo along with the unclear slot rooms status. In the summer of 2019, the casino question and their return possibility to the country after a 10-year ban was again raised.
The gambling business legalization has become possible due to the change of the country head. The new president, Vladimir Zelenskyy, in August 2019, emphasized that he was seriously focused on returning the gambling business to the country. Casinos are profitable, and their return will allow to better develop the tourism sector of Ukraine. The Cabinet of Ministers was sent a task to develop a new bill taking into account the interests of all process participants.
What is known about the new law
There is no full version of the bill yet. But some data has already become known. It is assumed that casinos will operate in Ukraine exclusively on the hotels’ basis. First of all, with five stars, but, possibly, in some with four stars. It is planned to introduce restrictions on hardware and software. Only products meeting international standards will be allowed to use.
Additional restrictions affect slot rooms. Their unregulated status causes problems. There are a lot of such institutions in Ukraine, most of them operate under the guise of a national lottery. Halls often open near pawnshops, which leads to damage to the citizens’ welfare.
A. Goncharuk, Prime Minister of Ukraine, repeatedly noted in an interview that one of the new law tasks is to solve the slot rooms problem. The changes will affect the work rules of betting organizations. A license for them will cost about 400 thousand … 1.3 million pounds, depending on location. The location will also affect the cost of a license for a casino. In-resort areas, it will be lower to attract operators.
What do people and operators think about casino legalization
In Ukraine, polls were conducted that showed that citizens have a different attitude to the return of gambling establishments. 47% of respondents spoke in favor, emphasizing that this is an additional “penny” to the budget. 37% of respondents were “against” for various reasons.
International operators are interested in adopting a new law and are waiting for when it will be possible to take action. They are optimistic because the authorities promise to create all conditions so that the first gambling establishments can begin work under the new rules by December 1, 2020.
The information that operators are now most interested in is the license price and specific requirements for gambling houses. If they are reasonable and enforceable, everyone will benefit from it: the country, operators, casino employees, gamblers and tourists.
Will Storm International enter the Ukrainian market?
Storm International, which is active in the post-Soviet space and owns the best casinos in Tbilisi, Yerevan, Minsk, and Riga, is interested in entering the Ukrainian market.
Darren Keane, Storm International Director, noted that the company had been waiting for a long time to draft a new bill and lift the ban, which is not beneficial to anyone. The experience of many countries shows that gambling prohibitions contribute to shadow activity development and the bona fide operators’ departure from the market. There are problems with the law, corruption is developing.
According to Darren Keane, Storm International is glad that in Ukraine the issue of legalizing the gambling business will finally be resolved. Mr. Keane is sure that this will please the country citizens who are forced to work in casinos abroad. For example, in the Storm International units in Riga, Minsk, Yerevan, and Tbilisi, there are a lot of Ukrainian employees. All of them will be happy to return to their homeland to work closer to their homes, relatives, and friends.