Ukraine releases gambling reform bill text

4 November 2019

Ukraine’s parliament has released the full text of the bill to legalise gambling in the country, which includes provisions for online betting and igaming.

Although the country’s cabinet had announced in September that gambling would take place “exclusively on the territory of hotels,” the draft bill also permits igaming, online betting, online poker and retail bookmaking at other locations.

Ukraine will issue 10 online casino licences, 10 online betting licences and five online poker licences. The country will also issue 80 retail bookmaker licences, which will allow for 10 locations each.

In addition, 20 casino licences will be available only to five-star hotels that have at least 200 rooms if located in Kiev and at least 150 rooms if located elsewhere.

Operators must possess capital of at least UAH30m (£940,000/€1.09m/$1.20m) in order to apply for a licence.

Licence fees for casinos in Kiev will be determined by auction, starting at UAH37m annually. Online licences, as well as land-based casino licences outside of Kiev, will also be determined by auction and will start at UAH25m per year. All licence fees will scale with the country’s minimum wage to adjust for inflation and money collected from the fees will go towards the “Fund for support of Medicine, Sports and Culture.”

The bill also creates a gambling regulator for the country, the Commission for the Development and Regulation of Gambling. The seven-member Commission will be accountable to the country’s Cabinet of Ministers and will develop licensing conditions for conducting business activities, which must be approved by the cabinet.

The Commission will also be expected to apply penalties to those who break licence conditions, create and enforce a list of self-excluded players and “ensure a level playing field in the field of gambling,” producing reports on its work on 1 April every year.

An online monitoring system will also be put in place to monitor data such as players’ bets, deposits and winnings in order to ensure compliance with the law.

The law also allows the state to make both scheduled and unscheduled inspections of gambling equipment.