The parliament voted in favour of the draft law 2285-D on July 14, 2020. The document aimed to legalise the gaming business in Ukraine was considered at an extraordinary session of the Verkhovna Rada. The innovations were supported by 248 deputies.
The majority of votes were provided by the party Sluha Narodu (Servant of the People) (224). Some members of the “For the Future” and “Trust” factions also approved the amendments.
The ban on gambling in Ukraine has been in effect since 2009.
For 11 years, lottery operators (the only legal segment) have found several loopholes allowing them to organise underground gaming clubs. According to experts, the country’s budget loses 10 billion hryvnias due to such activities annually. This amount could be used for the needs of health care, education and other social areas.
Complete transfer of the gaming business from the shadow segment and optimisation of budget revenues are the main goals of Bill No. 2285-D.
The authors of the project (Oleg Marusyak, Daniil Getmantsev and others) note:
The document will put an end to the lottery monopoly that has hampered business development for many years.
Parliament promises to develop a project to reduce the tax burden on gambling businesses and put it to the vote. The changes will affect VAT and the unified income tax.
The document will legalise two gambling areas at once:
The Verkhovna Rada does not consider offline poker tournaments as gambling activities. The Ministry of Youth and Sports will be engaged in issuing documents for organising poker games.
The legalisation implies the registration and renewal of permits. Operators having licences issued following the new rules will be able to work in Ukraine legally, without the threat of any sanctions.
The initiators of Bill No. 2285-D based the cost of each license on the amount of the minimum wage. This parameter changes annually (in some cases, several times a year) and is determined by the Cabinet of Ministers during the formation of the country's budget. The size of the minimum wage is 4,723 hryvnias in 2020.
All licenses will be valid for 5 years.
Operators must pay one-fifth of the permit cost annually.
Kind of activity
In a number of minimum wages, ths.
In national currency, UAH million
In online establishments
In land-based kiosks
Games of chance
In online establishments
In land-based casinos
60 (for Kyiv); 30 (for other cities)
283.4 (for the capital); 141.7 (for other cities)
In slot machine halls
After the adoption of Bill No. 2285-D in the first reading (January 17, 2020), the document was sent for revision to the finance committee. Parliamentarians submitted almost 3.5 thousand amendments. Most of them concerned the fight against gambling addiction.
The results of the revision are as follows:
The measures envisaged by the bill sparked a heated discussion among opposition politicians and market experts.
Political scientist Nikolai Spiridonov believes:
“According to the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers, the age of 20 is the age of recruitment. At the same time, President Zelensky believes that soldiers can be called up for military service at the age of 18… Accordingly, gamblers can say: why can we go to the army from the age of 18, but we have no right to play casino games?”
The document provides some restrictions for:
Family members can also restrict a player by a court decision.
However, Nikolai Spiridonov believes:
“These restrictions will not work very effectively. Unless, one of the family members will be very actively seeking their implementation through the courts.”
The document defines the list of requirements for licensees:
In the future, all market participants will be connected to the state online monitoring system. The government promises to launch it within 2 years. After the launch of the platform, the cost of licenses will triple.
The adoption of the document No. 2285-D revived the gambling segment in the state.
The law has not yet been signed by the President, but many market participants are already planning and developing their gambling projects. The haste is due to the fact that the first licensees will receive significant benefits.
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