Gamblers in Ukraine can expect significant changes to the betting landscape over the coming months according to a statement by the President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Earlier this month, the new Servant of the People (SoP) Ukranian government, which won the country’s general election on a platform of tackling corruption in Ukraine, confirmed that they had put together an action plan to reform the gambling industry, and a key part of that plan was the removal of illegal gambling operations including unlicensed slot machines.
Ukraine’s gambling sector has been tightly regulated by the Prohibition of Gambling Law that was passed in 2009. This law makes it illegal for any organisation or individual to offer gambling products, with the exception of the official lottery operators, Patriot, MSL and UNL.
But the country’s lottery companies were among the many anti-corruption targets that SoP had in their sights during the election campaign, having accused them of being a source of cronyism.
Speaking to the media, the President said that the government was weighing up a number of possible approaches to the reform of the gambling sector. But his statement will not be bad news to gambling companies hoping to one day gain access to the Ukraine market.
According to Zelensky, re-regulation of the gambling market could generate significant funds that could be used to support a range of projects in the education, sports and healthcare sectors. And he also expressed the hope that it could prove a catalyst for reinvigorating the leisure industry:
“We have five-star hotels on the market, but they are very small. There is no way to build a casino yet. We need to test how people will fight for these licenses. We want hotels to be built.”