In an unexpected move, President Volodymyr Zelensky of the Ukraine has ordered all gaming halls to close, effective immediately inside the country. The president made this huge change due to discussions regarding new gambling laws not making any headway within the Ukrainian Parliament.
The president took to Twitter and simply stated that if transparent rules weren’t going to be followed and working done in a civilized manner, then he would close all gambling halls. The government was reportedly looking to gain more tax revenues based on the new laws under consideration, which would have amounted to around $375,000 annually.
The new law would have provided new revenues as well as limited the number of gaming establishments in the Ukraine. Casinos would only be allowed in large hotels and the number of casino licenses available would be set at 20. Only 40,000 gaming machines can be located in the country and licensing for the machines will be set at 160. For bookmakers, only around 800 could exist.
Once Zelensky issued the order, Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk put law enforcement to work. Police were sent to gaming venues to shut hem down. Tax officials then began to review lottery licensing and enforce the order of Zelensky.
The decision made a huge impact on the gaming infrastructure of the country. In one fell swoop, 152 gambling outlets were considered illegal by the government and had to be shut down immediately. Over $2 million in gaming equipment were seized. Items taken included poker tables, electronic roulette tables, slot machines, computer equipment and more.
The raids themselves were standard but what was left behind were rather shocking. Gaming outlets once ripe with activity are now completely. Even gaming advertising has been stripped down and no longer visible.
Even though the government is not affected by the crackdown directly, lottery outlets are closed so the government has time to determine which operators are legal and which are operating in an illegal manner.