The authorities in Ukraine are all out against illegal gaming halls in the country while the government is making moves to get the gambling legalization bill approved.
According to the latest figures, about 900 illegal gambling houses have been shut down in Ukraine. Earlier last year the country’s new comedian turned president Volodymyr Zelensky campaigned for radical reforms in the country including the legalization of gambling.
The government brought in a draft bill to legalize gambling at five-star hotels. While the draft bill failed to make through the constitutional processes to come into effect as a law, the government has ordered a crackdown on illegal gaming houses that operate disguised as a lottery.
The police have said that there are over 700 mobile units specially dedicated to identifying and clamping down on all such illegal gambling venues.
The Ukrainian government has promised increased revenue from legalized gambling. However, it has come under fire from the opposition. The critics say that legalizing gambling only at five-star hotels will do little to curb illegal gambling as it would be accessible only to a select few.
The government says that the proceeds from the sale of license and the taxes on gambling operations will be used to fund social programs.
The current state budget allows 70 percent of the revenue from the sale of gambling licenses to go towards funding educational programs in the country.
Earlier in the week, Ukraine’s Chief of the Financial, Tax, and Customs Policy Committee, Danylo Getmantsev, also said that for the national budget 2020, he expects that the newly regulated gambling regime would chip in about UAH 4.5 billion, or US$188.8 million in tax revenues.
However, for Ukraine’s government, it will not be easy to get going with its gambling expansion plans. There have been widespread criticism and several lawmakers have been vocal against the move citing social perils they believe will be brought upon by legalizing gambling.
The lawmakers in opposition have said that legalizing gambling could fuel a gambling addiction. Some have suggested introducing criminal liability for promoting gambling.