Aug 7, 2020
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Gambling Business In Ukraine: Optimistic Forecast From Storm International

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The Ukrainian government decided to return the gambling business to Ukraine. Thus, there is a high chance to implement the words of the country’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has expressed his opinion a year ago that the gambling business legalization in Ukraine is incredibly beneficial for a developing state, and in particular, for its tourist vector in the economy.

On June 30, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine launched the consideration of this issue in the second reading. About three and a half thousand amendments were submitted to the bill on the gambling business legalization, and hopefully the MPs understand the issue importance and will deal with it in the near future. According to a survey by the Rating group (for April 2020), 55% of Ukrainians are against legalization (33% are in favor), but what is a compelling argument – the proceeds from the gambling business to the state budget can amount to more than 7 billion hryvnias.

As a result, the law was adopted on July 14, 2020. There is already information about the casino work after the adoption of this law. The country’s casinos will operate exclusively on the basis of 4 and 5-star hotels. All equipment and software for all establishments must be certified and meet all the international standards requirements. As many analysts write, it will certainly not do without some determining factors, without which this very law cannot start its work.

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One of the main factors is the so-called legal “bonuses” for many foreign investors, whose entry into the market will make a huge leap up. This is the path to a modern and structured market with a high level of protection for all interested parties: both the state and the long-awaited player, and many Ukrainian and world market operators, and, undoubtedly, society as a whole.

Expected “bonuses”:

– an exclusive right to a free license for those who build a new 5-star hotel, either for one hundred and fifty rooms in Kiev, or for one hundred rooms outside the capital;

– note about “landmark casino”. It will make it possible to open a casino outside the hotel if this casino becomes a world attraction in the future, and will give confidence in a significant tourist flow.

From the history…

As you know, casinos in Ukraine were outlawed back in 2009. At the same time, a similar decision was made in Russia. But Russian gambling establishments were not just banned, but purposefully moved to the so-called gambling zones specially allocated for these purposes. In Ukraine, this activity was closed altogether, and slot halls remained open, but with an unclear status.

Let’s talk about the nuances

To start their gambling activities, all gambling operators will need to obtain a compulsory state license. A specially created commission will be in charge of issuing these licenses.

The cost of licenses will be rather big – from sixty to one hundred twenty thousand minimum wages of citizens. The final price will depend on the geography of the location of a particular institution. Each table with a roulette now also has a separate fee – up to three hundred and fifty minimum wages. It is interesting that the most reasonable prices will be reserved for the resort areas. This is all in order to attract reputable game operators to these zones as much as possible. Working without a license will incur heavy fines and other heavy penalties.

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This law provides for various restrictions kinds. Only people who are over 21 are allowed to play. A unique point is the restriction of the gambling activity of an addicted person to their close relatives. Those can easily file a claim against him/her in the courts. The court, in turn, will be able to prohibit participation in gambling in any institution. Such people will be included in a special register. The state will be able to regulate gambling addiction people growth in the country.

The opinion of professionals

Many companies were eagerly awaiting the legalization gambling business law adoption in Ukraine in order to start active operations in the gambling market. Michael Boettcher’s Storm International, which manages a large number of casinos in almost all post-Soviet countries, is also ready to enter the Ukrainian market.

The director of Storm International, Darren Keane, has expressed hope that an official, legislative lifting of the gambling business ban in Ukraine will take place, since this taboo does not benefit anyone – neither the operators nor the state. Years of experience suggests that as soon as various bans are established, the gambling business goes into the shadows. This leads to the corruption development and laws violation. Honest and responsible operators simply leave the market.

Darren Keane also has shared that he was delighted to hear about the casinos return to Ukraine. He is sure that such news has long been expected and very pleasant for all country citizens who are forced to work abroad. For example, a large number of Ukrainians work in Storm International complexes in Tbilisi, Yerevan, Minsk. All of them will be extremely happy to return to their homeland and continue to work, already close to home and loved ones.

The entire gambling business awaits with trepidation the start, which, according to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, is scheduled for December this year. The greatest interest among all participants in the process is the license size and the casino requirements. Will a compromise be found? If this balance is achieved, it will have a 100% positive effect on everyone: the state, gambling operators, casino employees, players and, of course, tourists.

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