Ukraine’s newly elected comedian turned president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is gambling with the country’s gambling laws.
In a major development, which can be seen as a strong step towards legalizing gambling in the country, Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers approved the government’s new Action Program. The program includes a draft law that seeks the legalization of gambling in the country.
While the draft law has not been brought in the public domain, the cabinet in its announcement said that the law would allow gambling “exclusively on the territory of hotels, with use of gambling equipment with software that meets international standards.”
In a press briefing, Prime Minister Alexei Goncharuk said that “The government has drafted a bill on the president’s instructions and we voted it on Sunday, it will be tabled in parliament in the next few days.
You know what’s going on: you go outside, you see these slot machines, next to the pawnshops. I don’t think we need to explain what the problem is.”
“A lot of people are suffering from this and we want to protect people who are addicted because people then have depression, suicides, families are destroyed, people lose money. These are tens of thousands of broken human lives, and we want this to end in Ukraine. There should be no such thing in civilized countries.
“The bill spells out how we propose to regulate gambling, and lotteries will be regulated separately. But the main goal is to remove slot machines from the streets, to reduce this disaster they create for us.”
According to the local media reports, the gambling operators willing to offer their gambling products in the regulated market would have to pay a licence fee of UAH 38m (£1.3m/€1.4mm/$1.5m) for operating a casino in Kiev, UAH 25m for a casino in one of the four other cities with a population of a million or more and UAH 12.5m for a casino anywhere else.
A recent study by the Razumkov Center sociological service found that around 47 percent of Ukrainians fully support the President’s proposal regarding the adoption of a draft law on the de-shadowing and legalization of gambling by the year-end. Only 34 percent are not in favor of gambling legalization.
The study involved 2,018 participants from all states of Ukraine. The participants were above 18 years of age.