As Ukraine’s comedian turned president Volodymyr Zelensky has announced that he would be legalizing gambling in the country, it is easier said than done.
For the past decade, since 2009, gambling has been illegal in all its forms following the ‘Prohibition of Gambling Law’ sanctioned by the Viktor Yushchenko administration.
Zelensky has just completed his first 100 days as president and the changes he has promised are challenging.
Earlier this month, revealing his plans to legalize gambling, speaking at the Ukrainian-Turkish business forum in Istanbul, Zelensky said: “We will legalize gambling, namely the operation of casinos in five-star hotels, which will stimulate the development of the tourism cluster of the region near the Black Sea. Here we also want to grow together. Therefore, we want to see our partners in Turkey’s business, not rivals.”
According to the Ministry of Finance 2014/15 study, a legalized Ukranian gambling market would generate about UAH 5 billion (€170m) of additional tax revenue.
To the President’s relief, his ‘Servant-of-the-People’ (SoP) party secured the first clean parliamentary majority in the nation’s post-Soviet history.
As such, the promised reforms despite challenging don’t seem impossible to deliver.