Ukraine Gov Expects New Gambling Law By End Of Year

Despite a ten-year ban on gambling in Ukraine, the newly elected government has committed to adopting a new gambling law by the end of this year, with plans to apply legislation’ in the coming days’ to Parliament.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ordered his Cabinet of Ministers in June of this year to draft a new bill by 1 October to facilitate the legalisation of gambling, with hopes to enact the law by 1 December 2019.

Since then, Ukraine’s Finance Minister Oksana Markarova has introduced a draft budget for 2020 in the Ukrainian Parliament, which prioritises legalised gambling.

The gaming industry in Ukraine works “in the dark,” according to Vladimir Groysman, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, and the parliament has the opportunity to change this.

Prime Minister Alexei Goncharuk announced on 30 September that ministers were ready in the coming days to send a bill to Parliament stating that gambling would only be allowed in hotels: “We want the slot machines to disappear from the streets, so the government developed a bill on behalf of the President,” he said. “Yesterday, we voted for it, and in the coming days – today or tomorrow – it will be submitted to parliament.”

Parimatch CEO Sergey Portnov, speaking to Ukrainian media outlet Ukrinform, said he actively supported lifting the ban on gambling.

He noted: “We are pleased that current and modern regulatory standards that will be created for the Ukrainian market at the legislative level, which will introduce clear, balanced rules for market players, the state and consumers.

“Parimatch is interested and supports the adoption of a systematic liberal law that will create an equal and transparent environment for all market participants. Thanks to many years of extensive international experience, our knowledge and expertise can be useful in an open dialogue between lawmakers, lawyers, experts and other participants in the process. We are as open as possible to this dialogue.”

According to Goncharuk, the implementation of a gaming bill would replenish the state budget by 2-2.5 billion UAH: “If we are talking about the revenue side of the budget, we expect that we will receive about 2-2.5 billion UAH due to the legalisation of gambling in the budget. But we must also consider, we must understand what law will be adopted.”