Ukrainian lawmakers approve wide-ranging gambling legalization

Ukrainian lawmakers approve wide-ranging gambling legalization

Ukrainian lawmakers have finally approved a measure that has been designed to legalize a broad range of gambling activities, including highly-controversial online and mobile betting, across the eastern European nation.

Emerging media reports state that the measure, known as 2285-D, was approved by Ukraine’s 424-member parliament through a vote of 248 to 95 in favor of the legislation. After being approved by the country’s legislative body, the measure is now ready to be tabled before President Volodymyr Zelensky for his endorsement on the bill.

The move to legalize gambling activities is part of the government’s efforts to diversify the country’s economy. Earlier, it was being reported that the 2285-D legislation could be delayed further as the parliament was giving priority to an agriculture-related bill rather than to the legislation of gambling. Many media reports suggested in March this year that there was no anticipated timeline for the gambling legislation at that time.

Currently, the country’s law prohibits land-based as well as online casino gambling but President Zelensky’s pending consent would grant a legal status to both land-based and online gambling, though the former would be allowed only inside high-class hotels after the potential payment of roughly $4.5 million licensing fee for gaming properties located in Kiev or nearly $2.6 million with regards to those situated elsewhere.

The legislation would also permit iGaming operators to get similar five-year gambling licenses following payment of a duty of around $1.1 million. The potential duty for bookmakers stands at around $2.6 million. Source with direct information of the development explained that there are presently five differing plans, proposing the eventual duty on online gambling operations in the range of 25 percent of gross gaming revenues (GGR) to 10 percent.

The legislation would also determine who would be allowed to own and operate land-based gambling facilities or supply such facilities with games. According to emerging media reports, the measure supposedly also contains a prohibition against anyone residing in an ‘occupying or aggressor’ state. This prohibition is widely thought to be a part of the government’s efforts to prevent potential interests from neighboring Russia.

In case the proposed legislation gets President Volodymyr’s required approval, a commission will be established to oversee various land-based as well as online gambling activities. In addition, the government will be required to establish a new set of associated tax laws to regulate the industry.