Ukraine: ban on gambling and gaming

Ukraine

Gambling and gaming are likely to be outlawed throughout Ukraine except in specially-created zones, under a new law adopted by Parliament.

Parliament overruled the earlier Presidential veto and, if the President does not sign the law within 10 days, the Speaker of the Parliament has indicated that he will do so. The law will then come into force when it is officially published.

This will limit the operation of gambling businesses and participation in gaming activities to specially created zones, two of which may be placed in the Kyiv region and in Crimea.

The gambling ban will include gaming at casinos, game-playing machines, bookmakers and internet-based casinos. It will not include lotteries, sports and arts competitions, billiards, bowling and other games which do not involve prizes.

Violations will incur a fine of 8,000 statutory minimum wages (currently approximately €500,000) and confiscation of gambling equipment. All revenue from illegal games will be confiscated for the state budget.

The gambling ban will take effect before a special law is approved to permit gambling business in specially created zones, which will be drafted within the next three months. It means that no further gambling licences will be issued and existing licenses will be cancelled.

It remains unclear whether and how the holders of current licences will be compensated (if at all).

Law: The Law of Ukraine No. 4268 (15 May 2009) On Prohibition of Gambling Business in Ukraine