At the end of summer 2019, mass media started talking about the possible legalization of gambling businesses in Ukraine. Casinos were banned in the country for 10 years. They were outlawed back in 2009. Ukraine made such a decision simultaneously with Russia. But if in the Russian Federation casinos were simply brought into separate gambling zones, Ukraine was completely banned, without giving a clear status to the slot rooms.
After the change of state head, when Vladimir Zelenskyy became president of Ukraine, the question about casino legalization was raised again. The new president reiterated his intention to return the gambling business to the country, as this will beneficially and positively affect tourism sector development and of course the Ukrainian economy. The Cabinet of Ministers has already begun to develop a bill to regulate the casinos’ activities.
So far, the law has not yet been fully completed. But some points have already become clear, including that the casinos will operate exclusively on the hotels’ basis, five- and some four-star ones. All equipment and software that will be approved in gambling establishments must fully comply with international requirements.
The slot halls fate
In the new law, a separate place will be allocated to the slot machines halls, which now have an undefined status. Their dominance has become a problem in Ukraine. Such establishments operate under the guise of a national lottery; pawnshops often work near them. This bundle does considerable harm to the welfare of socially vulnerable people.
Prime Minister Goncharuk repeatedly emphasized in his interviews that the new bill will certainly solve the slot rooms problem. Innovations will appear in the bookmakers’ work. For a license to carry out such activities, you will have to pay from 400 thousand to 1.3 million pounds, depending on where the organization will be located. The location will affect the casino license cost. Discounts are offered for resort areas to attract operators.
Citizen Survey Results
To find out the Ukrainians’ opinion about the return of the casino, a survey was conducted. A larger number of respondents (47%) supported the government’s decision to legalize the gambling business, and only 34% did not approve the casino return to Ukraine.
The opinion of Storm International and other operators
Companies management is looking forward to the final issue resolution of casino legalization in Ukraine in order to take some action. Storm International, which runs casinos in Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, and Latvia, also intends to enter the Ukrainian market. Darren Keane, Storm International Director, notes that the company has been waiting for many years for a new law to be introduced in Ukraine and the taboo removal that is not beneficial to absolutely anyone.
Experience shows that gambling bans drive it into the shadows, thereby contributing to corruption development and the law violation. Decent operators leave the market and problems begin.
Darren Keane noted, Storm International was pleased with the information on the legislative solution about gambling business return to Ukraine. He is sure that the citizens of Ukraine who are forced to work abroad will be welcome to her. For example, a lot of Ukrainians work at Storm International casinos in Riga, Minsk, Tbilisi, and Yerevan. The opportunity to return to their homeland and continue working near their home and family will certainly please them.
Other well-known operators are also considering entering the Ukrainian market. Everyone is full of optimism, as the authorities assure of a possible start to work as early as December 2020. The greatest interest among market participants is the license size question and institutions specific requirements. A reasonable approach will achieve advantages for the state, operators, casino workers, tourists, and players.