The new Ukrainian gambling legislation got its first approval by the parliament. Last Thursday, a total of 260 members of the Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) approved the new bill called the 2285-d.
The bill is a new version of the previous bill that was rejected by the majority vote in the Parliament just five days prior to Christmas. For the bill to become law, three readings and approvals are necessary so the new legislation is awaiting its second reading.
The biggest change in the newly approved draft of the bill is a change of the minimum gambling participation age from 18 to 21 which seems to be the reason why the bill was rejected in December.
The gambling bill is introducing new measures to regulate the market. So far, over 5 thousand parlours were working in a legal, yet grey zone. However, according to the bill, only 40 thousand slots will be available in the whole country and they would be located to hotels with three or more stars. Additional limits will occur if the hotels are near some sensitive areas such as churches, schools, or similar.
As for the online betting, the license fee is based on verticals meaning that, for example, a license for both online and land-based gambling costs 120 thousands of minimum monthly wages. Minimum wages are currently UAH 4,710 which is around $195. This means that a company needs to pay around $23,4 million for a five-year license. For a five-year online casino permit, the operators will have to pay 62,500 minimum wages whilst online poker costs 2,500 minimum wages.
Taxes Still Under a Question Mark
The new draft of the bill doesn’t contain taxation information. However, this could be linked with the fact that on January 3rd, 2020, legislators from Ukraine filed a bill asking for a reduction of gambling taxes from 18% of gross gaming revenue to 10%. Additionally, bettors would also benefit if taxes get decreased.
The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, publicly blamed the illegal operators in Ukraine who don’t want to “play by transparent rules” and after the December vote, he engaged law enforcement on such operators.
Over 900 illegal places across Ukraine have been shut down by the authorities including a lot of slot machines operators.
New Gambling Bill Draft in Ukraine Approved by the Parliament