The legislature in Ukraine has voted by 260 to 190 to approve a bill that can now legalise gambling.
The snappily named 2285-D bill was passed at its very first reading having been introduced by Oleg Marusyak as one of a number of alternatives, six in all, to the previous reforms set out by the Servant of the People Party’s government back in October.
Online Sports Betting Firm Welcomes Decision
Parimatch, an online sportsbook focussing much of its business on the Eastern European markets, has welcomed the bill’s passing with a spokesman claiming that legalised gambling could greatly boost Ukraine’s economy.
According to the firm, which began in Ukraine before spreading to Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Tanzania and then Cyprus, the adoption of this bill in its first reading is a big step towards creating a fair and transparent market, something that in turn will attract investment to Ukraine alongside the introduction of new technology.
Parimatch have also claimed that, once legalised, the betting market will create thousands of jobs as well as contributing to both local and state budgets, lead to an upsurge in tourism numbers and help to alleviate corruption in sport.
Bill 2285-D to Make Licences Cheaper
The new bill introduced by Marusyak makes provisions for cheaper licence fees for online gambling than the alternatives put forward in parliament, the price being UAH6.7million (£213,000).
It includes a minimum fee of UAH41.7million (£1.3million) for casinos and hotels with between 200 and 250 rooms, or UAH62.6million (£2million) for those with more than 250 rooms. The proposed fees will enable the country to track the minimum wage and adjust it for inflation in the coming years.
2285-D can also determine bookmaking licences via a system in which each licensee has the right to open up to five betting shops, with 32 such licences handed out in Kiev, 16 shared between Odessa and Kharkov and a further 32 opened up to the rest of Ukraine.
Gambling machines will be limited to 40,000 in total and players are required to be 21 or over to use them, an increase on the minimum age of 18 that was proposed in an older version of this bill.
As well as all this, the bill puts forward plans for players to enable themselves to self-exclude and envisions the distribution of responsible gambling information to all staff within the industry.
Before all of this is rubber-stamped the new bill faces a second reading at which time more details, for example the tax rate on gambling, may be discussed and agreed before its inclusion in the final bill.
Parimatch Keeping the Pressure On
Seeing their chance for early domination of the legalised Ukrainian gambling market, Parimatch have moved to say publicly that deputies in Ukraine shoulder a big responsibility when preparing this bill for its next reading, as it must meet the highest internationally set standards for the gambling industry.
The firm has said it remains open to dialogue and will work with deputies and lawyers to finalise the bill. Parimatch are happy it seems to share the knowledge and expertise they’ve built up in the market, though no doubt this means they’ll be the first to be able to take advantage of fully legalised gambling in this territory.
There remains a threat by those opposed to the bill to enforce Ukraine’s existing anti-gambling laws if it cannot be agreed, something we’re sure most normal Ukrainians do not want to see.