Ukrainian president orders new gambling bill

3 September 2019

Ukraine’s president has commissioned the country’s new government to pass laws to legalise gambling by the end of this year as part of a range of measures designed to stimulate the economy.

Volodymyr Zelensky, in a meeting with leaders of the new parliament following July’s election, said gambling legislation must be drafted by 1 October this. The documents should be approved by 1 December, he added.

A statement by the president’s office said the regulation of gambling is important to his strategy of “de-shadowing the economy”.

Ukraine operators have not been able to offers any gambling or betting services since prohibition was introduced in 2009. The country is believed to be nurturing a thriving black market, with economists estimating in 2017 that potential tax revenues of $1.5bn could be raised through regulation.

Several attempts have been made to regulate gambling in the years since, with a draft gambling bill that proposed opening the market to land-based casinos, sports betting and online gaming introduced in 2015.

In 2017 the country’s government said it would reintroduce a legalised gambling system into the country by the end of 2018, but this failed to progress.

President Zelensky said last month that he would move forward a plan for the legalisation of casino gambling at major hotels. The move aims to encourage development in the tourist-heavy Black Sea region.

Image: Mykhaylo Markiv / The Presidential Administration of Ukraine