Draft divergence sees little consensus on Ukraine gambling

Further Ukraine gambling developments have seen seven draft regulatory proposals submitted to Rada (Ukraine’s Parliamentary council), presenting alternatives to the law on legislating gambling services – published by the governing Servant of the People (SOP) party this November.

Of the seven, only five have been made available to the public, sharing commonalities and divergences on developing an effective regulatory framework for Ukrainian gambling.

For industry stakeholders, the submission of seven draft mandates should indicate the importance of delivering upon a legislative agenda. However, with all proposals maintaining numerous points of conflict, it remains to be seen whether MPs will settle on a ‘final law’ which can satisfy diverse parties.

As anticipated, all mandates are united by safer gambling measures protecting minors and vulnerable consumers, whilst strengthening the nation’s health networks against gambling addiction.

Further cohesion sees all proposals back the development of a new government agency overseeing licensed operator behaviour, industry tax collection, the development of standards and sanctioning of investigations and penalties.

Nevertheless, the proposals see wide disparities with regards to the size of the market, operator restrictions and the number of licensed incumbents Ukraine gambling should approve.

Of particular note, all proposals seek to modify SoP’s ‘capped licensing restrictions’ on the number of gambling facilities which will be made available within Ukraine’s cities and provinces.

Furthermore, legislators have failed to reach consensus on key fiscal provisions related to the cost of individual licenses and taxation, with no proposal detailing clarity on tax frameworks.

SoP’s initial draft legislation was criticised for carrying burdensome licensing fees and for detailing no information on taxation of services – a caveat Ukraine’s governing party states it will fulfil following initial readings.

At an operational level, there are clear disparities on operator controls and procedures with regards to payment transactions, AML monitoring and verification of customers.

Further debate rages on the government’s role and controls with regards to governing the betting industry, operator domicile requirements and as to how Ukraine should launch the first phase of its new gambling framework – should it choose to segment launches, and further implement a transition period for new legislation.

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