Ukraine moved one step closer to legalizing gambling over the weekend, as the cabinet of ministers approved the current plans to legalize casinos in 5-star hotels.
On September 29, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine approved the government’s Action Plan, including a draft law regarding the legalization of gambling in Ukraine. The government’s announcement stated that gambling will be “conducted exclusively on the territory of hotels, with use of gambling equipment with software that meets international standards.”
President Volodymyr Zelensky’s plan is to stimulate the development of the tourism industry along the Black Sea coast by introducing casinos in 5-star hotels. Prime Minister Alexey Goncharuk announced that the government estimates the legalization of gambling to generate UAH 2-2.5 billion ($83 million - $103.5 million) in revenues. Prime Minister Goncharuk is focused on clamping down on illegal gambling halls.
Almost all forms of gambling were banned in Ukraine in 2009 after a fire in a casino. Since then, however, a substantial black market for gambling has flourished, both online and in underground gambling halls.
According to the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine, three- and four-star hotels will be allowed to host gambling rooms, but full casinos will only be allowed in 5-star hotels. A special body will be created to be in charge of licensing and regulation. Only a limited number of licenses will be granted, and in the current plan, the price for the license will be determined by auction.