Ukraine expects to submit gambling bill ‘in the coming days’

Following a ten-year ban of gambling across Ukraine, the newly-elected government has committed to adopting a new gambling legislation by the end of this year, with plans to submit legislation to Parliament ‘in the coming days’.

In June of this year, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky instructed his Cabinet of Ministers to draft a new bill by 1 October, which would ensure the legalisation of gambling, with plans to adopt the legislation by December 1, 2019.

A draft budget for 2020 has since been presented in the Ukrainian Parliament by the Minister of Finance of Ukraine Oksana Markarova, which prioritises legalised gambling. 

According to Vladimir Groysman, secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, the gambling business in Ukraine is operating “in the shadows” and that Parliament has the opportunity to change this. 

On 30 September, Prime Minister Alexei Goncharuk confirmed that Ministers are prepared to submit a bill to Parliament in the coming days, explaining that gambling would only permitted at 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.”

Speaking to Ukrainian media outlet Ukrinform, Parimatch CEO Sergey Portnov expressed that he actively supported the lifting of the ban on gambling. 

He noted: “We are pleased that current and modern regulatory standards will be created for the Ukrainian market at the legislative level, and that clear, balanced rules for market players, the state and consumers will be introduced. Parimatch supports and is interested in 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 of the process. We are as open as possible to this dialogue.”

The introduction of a gambling bill is expected to replenish the state budget by 2-2.5 billion UAH according to Goncharuk: “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 legalization of gambling in the budget. But we must also consider, we must understand what law will be adopted.”

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