On 13 August 2020, the Law of Ukraine On State Regulation of Activities on Organizing and Conducting Gambling Games No. 768-IX ("Law") came into effect (except for its certain provisions).
Permitted gambling activities
The Law permits organizing and conducting the following activities in Ukraine:
- gambling games in casinos
- gambling games in online casinos
- providing bookmaking services at physical betting locations and online betting platforms
- gambling at slot machine halls
- online poker gambling games.
New rules for permitted gambling activities:
- obtaining a gambling license
- using certified gambling equipment
- connecting gambling equipment to the State Online Monitoring System
- gambling operators must be registered legal entities and comply with the Law
- gambling is permitted at specific premises of gambling operators (save for gambling games conducted on the internet).
Organizing and conducting gambling games in casinos may only be permitted, provided that they have a designated gambling area such as:
- a designated gambling area in five-star hotels with at least 150 guest rooms for Kyiv hotels
- a designated gambling area in five-star hotels with at least 100 guest rooms for hotels in other localities
- a designated gambling area in the premises of recreation facilities situated on city suburbs (comprised of two or more buildings), with the total area covering at least 10,000 square meters and a five-star hotel in place within the said facility
- a designated gambling area established by a decision of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.
The Law also requires that a premise should have a minimum area of 500 square meters for it to accommodate a casino.
Organizing and conducting gambling games at slot machine halls may only be permitted at a designated gambling area such as that of three-star, four-star and five-star hotels with:
- at least 50 guest rooms (for Kyiv hotels)
- at least 25 guest rooms (for hotels in other localities).
In addition, the Law requires that one or several non-residential premises or parts thereof should have a minimum area of 300 square meters for them to accommodate a slot machine hall. Slot machine halls may only be accommodated in localities with a population of no less than 10,000.
Requirements for gambling operators
A gambling operator must be a legal entity registered in Ukraine who meets, among others, the following eligibility criteria:
- a gambling operator must obtain a corresponding gambling license
- a gambling operator must have a charter capital made of cash contributions in the amount not less than UAH 30 million
- a gambling operator must not be controlled, directly or indirectly, by residents of the aggressor (occupying) country
- a director, chief accountant, majority shareholder of a gambling operator or its ultimate beneficial owners (UBOs) must not be citizens of the aggressor (occupying) country
- UBOs of a gambling operator must not be residents of the aggressor (occupying) country
- participants (shareholders) of a gambling operator must not be UBOs of a resident of the aggressor (occupying) country.
State regulation of activities on organizing and conducting gambling games will be conferred on the Gambling Games and Lottery Commission ("Commission"). The Commission will be formed by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine from among persons nominated under open competition within two months of the effective date of the Law.
The Commission will be vested with the following powers and duties:
- maintaining a register of licensed gambling operators
- elaborating license terms and procedures to be approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine
- deciding on issuance and cancellation of gambling licenses
- determining a list of gambling equipment for certification
- administering the State Online Monitoring System
Depending on the type of permitted activity, license fees are as follows:
- Gambling games in casinos — 60,000 minimal wages (~UAH 283,4 million) for Kyiv; 30,000 minimal wages (~ UAH 141,7 million) for other localities; term: five years. The following fees must also be paid:
- annual fee for each license for a casino table — 90 or 175 minimal wages (depends on whether there is a roulette wheel on a casino table)
- annual fee for each license for a slot machine — six minimal mages.
- Gambling games in online casinos — 6,500 minimal wages (~UAH 30,7 million); term: five years.
- Providing bookmaking services — 30,000 minimal wages (~UAH 141,7 million); term: five years. The following fee must also be paid:
- annual fee for each license for a physical betting location — 30 minimal wages.
- Gambling at slot machine halls — 7,500 minimal wages (~UAH 35,5 million); term: five years. The following fee must also be paid:
- annual fee for each license for a slot machine — six minimal wages.
- Online poker gambling games — 5,000 minimal wages (~UAH 23,6 million); term: five years.
The Law also provides for an investment license for a 10-year term, for which no fees are payable. Such a license is conditional upon, among others, the carrying out of construction of a five-star hotel complex with at least 200 guest rooms (for Kyiv hotels) or 150 guest rooms (for hotels in other cities). Such a license allows its holder to organize and conduct gambling games in casinos of such a hotel complex.
It is expected that the Law will usher in the recovery of the gambling industry in Ukraine.