The Ukraine parliament, Rada, has given its approval to a range of new regulations that will support the new Gambling Law, including the creation of the Ukraine’s first-ever gambling sector regulator, which will be known as the Gambling and Lottery Commission (UGLC).
Closing its September session, the parliament approved what is known as a ‘secondary decree’ that will establish the UGLC and give it the powers to monitor licensed betting activities and gambling sector market conduct. The decree outlined some of the key criteria that will determine how UGLC will operate and the extent of its regulatory remit and legislative authority, along with details over the structure and funding of the new organisation.
Beginning next year, the UGLC will be given the task of overseeing licensing controls in the run up to the launch of the federally regulated gambling sector, the date of which has yet to be confirmed.
As the market comes into being, the UGLC will take on the role of monitoring all licensed operators’ compliance and their market conduct in the context of the new regulatory requirements and applicable laws. They will also be charged with overseeing the country’s safer gambling controls.
According to the decree, the UGLC will have the remit to carry out what are described as ‘enforcement procedures’ although it would not have the power to launch criminal proceedings. It is not yet clear what this will mean in practice, although UGLC would not be able to make its own interpretation of the laws or regulations relating to gambling.
The new decree added that the UGLC should be led by a director, who will serve a four-year term, with the appointment to be voted upon by the country’s Cabinet of Ministers in compliance with the terms of the Gambling Law. The director will only be permitted to lead the UGLC for two terms.
The government of Ukraine has also confirmed that it will set up a new office in the capital, Kiev, which will house the UGLC and its leadership team of six. In turn they will be responsible for developing regional regulators to monitor gambling markets. In addition, the development and operations of the UGLC will be reviewed by an independent board, which will have the power to monitor the agency’s performance in licensing, market standards and compliance. All funding of the UGLC will come from the Ukraine state budget.
Although at this stage, the UGLC’s powers and aims do not appear to have legal force, the move is an important signal to the global gambling sector that Ukraine is determined to create a viable and fully regulated gambling industry, that could become one of the most significant in Europe.