Ukraine gambling bill enacted by President Zelensky

Ukraine’s regulated gambling marketplace developments remain on track for 2020 after President Volodymyr Zelensky formally signed the ascension of Bill-2285D, following July’s legislative approval by the Verkhovna Rada.

Bill-2285D maintains the Rada-approved legislative framework and guidelines forming the ‘Ukraine Gambling Law’, a mandate which will overturn Ukraine’s 11-year prohibition of all forms of gambling except for lotteries

The formation of a regulated gambling marketplace had been formally outlined as a key economic pledge by President Zelensky’s SoP Party, which took control of Ukraine’s government last summer.

SoP had formed a legislative mandate for gambling, but would find little consensus attached to key policy areas related to industry taxation, licensing procedures and management of lottery incumbents.

Following numerous amendments, disputes and rewrites, SoP ministers settled on a working framework of Bill-2285 to be reviewed by Rada as Ukraine’s federal gambling policy framework – a process which was allowed to be fast-tracked by Rada committees last May.

At present, the Ukraine Gambling Law establishes that the government will form a regulated marketplace for the eight gambling disciplines of Land-based casinos, online casino, retail sports betting, online sports betting, Slot machine halls, online poker, totalizer contracts and lotteries.

Despite its presidential approval, the Gambling Law remains unfulfilled with regards to key operator criterias for licensing, licensing procedures and industry taxes.

Fast tracking Bill-2285D, supporting ministers chose to hold separate hearings on how UKraine would formulate its tax framework and licensing provisions forming a regulated gambling marketplace.

Congratulating Zelensky on signing the bill, Parimatch has confirmed that it will be bidding for one of the new operating licences.

Sergey Portnov, CEO of Parimatch said: “I would firstly like to congratulate President Zelenskyi for delivering on his pledge to legalize gambling in Ukraine. He has shown that he is a man of his word and we fully support his agenda to liberalize the local economy. Parimatch has long argued that the development of a fair and regulated betting industry will really benefit Ukraine.”

The bill is expected to require further clarity on taxes and amendments, which will most likely take place once the Rada returns from recess in September. It was reported that the bill was endorsed by Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Dmytro Razumkov.

Parimatch has emphasised that its commitment to its home market of Ukraine is ‘despite further clarity and reforms being required’.

Portnov added: “We are fully committed to conquering our home market by delivering a product that can entertain the people of Ukraine. We are also proud that we can now contribute to the country’s economy and help grow its technology industry.

“However, for us to deliver these benefits in the long-term we need a fairer tax system which is currently too punitive and uncompetitive compared to similar international markets. It is vital that this is addressed as soon as possible to ensure the enduring viability of the industry in Ukraine.”

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