Ukraine finance minister: gambling to bring in at least ₴5bn

28 October 2019

The Ukrainian government’s conservative evaluations have estimated that the country’s gambling bill could bring in between UAH5bn (£154.4m/€178.7m/$192.8m) and ₴9bn, according to the country’s Minister of Finance.

In an interview with Ukrainian online news outlet Левый берег (Left Bank), Minister of Finance Oksana Markarova said the total revenue would depend on the specifics of legalized gambling in the country, but even conservative estimates project a figure of at least UAH5bn.

“It all depends on what final model will be adopted,” Markarova said. “According to our conservative estimates, this is a ₴5bn-₴9bn resource that can be fully mobilized if everything works out.”

The country’s gambling bill — filed in Ukraine's parliament earlier this month — would allow for slot machines at three, four and five-star hotels and casinos exclusively at five-star venues. Hotels in Kiev applying for a gambling licence will need at least 200 rooms, while hotels elsewhere will need at least 150.

The gambling bill will limit the number of licenses, gambling establishments and gaming equipment and introduce a mandatory verification system administered by the country’s tax office.

Money collected from gambling taxes will be spent on sports, healthcare and culture.

The gambling bill was approved by cabinet ministers in September and by president Volodymyr Zelensky, who said he hoped the bill would boost tourism in the country, on 14 October.

On 3 September, Zelensky called for legislation to legalise gambling in the country in a meeting with party leaders following July’s parliamentary election.

All gambling except state-run lotteries became illegal in Ukraine in 2009, after nine people were killed in a fire at a slots parlour in Dnipropetrovsk in the east of the nation. However, the country has looked to reintroduce legal gambling since 2015, when a new bill to legalise and regulate gambling activities was introduced.

The country’s government had previously pledged in April 2017 to legalise gambling by 2018.