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Gambling legalised in Ukraine as Zelensky signs act into law

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Gambling is officially set to become legal in Ukraine after the country’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, signed the country’s Gambling Act into law, with Eastern Europe-facing operator Parimatch already announcing its intent to pursue a licence. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky has signed a Law of Ukraine "On State Regulation of Activities related to Organization and Conduct of Gambling." As noted on the website of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the document was signed by the President on August 11. On July 14, the Verkhovna Rada passed the Law of Ukraine "On State Regulation of Activities related to Organization and Conduct of Gambling" (Bill No. 2285-d). Verkhovna Rada Speaker Dmytro Razumkov signed it on July 27. In particular, the law introduces criminal liability for unlicensed gambling, permits to place slot machines only in 3-star, 4-star, and 5-star hotels, regulates "classic" lotteries, defines gambling age (21 years old), and imposes restrictions on advertising of gambling establishments. The bill was sent to Zelensky’s desk after Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, passed it in a 248-95 vote at the second reading. Under the bill, online gambling, bookmaking, slot halls and land-based casinos would all be legal under the bill, but casinos may only be located in hotels. Ukraine’s new gambling legislation would allow the functioning of ground casinos in five-star hotels in the capital city of Kyiv and four-star hotels in regions. The license fee for Kyiv would be $ 2 million for hotels with a capacity of more than 150 rooms and $ 1 million for hotels with a capacity of over 100 rooms but less than 150 rooms. All star hotels above three stars can host slot machine facility. The license fee for slot machines would be $ 250000 and $ 100 per month for each slot machine. The facilities can use 50-250 machines with a single license. Online casinos too will be permited. License fee would be $ 230000 or $ 1.150 million for 5 years for one website. Both online and offline bookmaking activities also will get the nod. The license will cost $ 1 million a year plus $ 500 per month. Three lottery licenses are also available over an auction process where bidding for each will start from $500000. The facility will not have video lottery terminals and other visualization devices. Online poker license will also be issued at $ 170000 per website. However, all of these fees will be tripled until Ukraine’s Online Monitoring System comes into effect. This is expected within 30 months of the launch of the gambling market.

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