Ukraine’s parliament, known as Verkhovna Rada, voted recently to approved gambling legislation. With a vote of 248-95, Bill-2285D—Gambling Law was approved. It creates a new market for regulated gambling in the country. With the approval, the government of the Ukraine will be able to repeal existing legislation, the Prohibition of Gambling Law. This current legislation instituted a blanket ban on all gambling except state-run lotteries. This ban has been in place since 2009.
President Volodymyr Zelensky approved the change of gambling laws in the country, when he took office in September of last year. This done based on the objective of the SoP Party. With the approval by Rada, the president will maintain the legislative agenda of SoP from 2020 where the government forced oversight committees to fast-track the measure. There were MPs who objected, stating the amendments that were submitted had not been evaluated. However, that did not stop the measure from moving ahead.
The bill received tough criticism due to reported flaws regarding the taxation policy of the measure as well as criteria for licensing and business transparency, among other items. MPs have blasted the SoP for drafting what they wish to see behind closed doors.
For Rada, the amendments were approved, and the country will now adopt an individual licensing framework for retail bookmakers, online gambling and land-based casinos. Licensing for online gambling is set at UAH 30 million and will last for five years. Bookmakers will have to pay at bit more, at UAH 70 million. Land-based casinos must pay an even higher rate of UAH 121 million.
Even though the measure has passed, the Ukraine Treasury has stated a separate vote must take place on the policies involving industry taxes. Because of the divisiveness involving the tax rates, four separate bills were submitted to Rada.