Gambling has become a political football

It appears that gambling has become something of a political football in the Ukraine, where President Viktor Yuschenko ruffled a few feathers by exercising his veto on a gambling ban last week .

The ban of gambling premises in residential areas was somewhat emotionally carried in the Ukraine parliament following a fire in a gambling premises that took lives. When gambling companies explained the consequences to jobs and businesses that such a sudden unilateral ban could inflict, the president exercised the presidential veto whilst expressing his support for the general idea that gambling should be located in non-residential areas. However, he urged that such legislation should be first carefully researched, considered and fully debated.

In particular, Yushchenko suggested that the licenses of gambling business owners should not be cancelled but merely suspended, and that they should be resumed on the day special zones for hosting slot machines are formed, reports the Kyiv Post.

The president also said that banning the gambling business would mean the loss of over 200 000 jobs, which was impermissible during a recession. The president proposed that state guarantees should be introduced in the law on compulsory state social insurance against unemployment.

This week the political bloc Yulia Tymoshenko agreed that it will support overriding Yushchenko's veto on the law, claims one of the ban's authors, MP Valeriy Pysarenko.

"The president's veto is motivated by the fact that the bill is populist and not balanced enough. Today, the population of Ukraine wants decisive action from the government. The Yulia Tymoshenko will support the overriding of the veto in parliament," the MP said.

Pysarenko said a politician that supports the gambling business could not be described as a moral leader of the nation.

"We are sure that supporting a business that is totally criminalized and makes money for criminal clans not paying any taxes is a crime against the nation," he said.

The MP said that the parliament was working on special laws that would the Ukrainian gambling business into line with international standards. One of the laws would stipulate moving gambling facilities to special gambling zones.

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