Update: Online Gambling Banned from Ukraine

Land gambling gets new areas

The Russian strict measures to ban online gambling were followed by Ukraine in June last year, when it passed the Law On Prohibition of Gambling Business in Ukraine. Based on the legislation, the government had to draft a further Law On Gambling Organisation and Maintenance of Gambling Activities in the Special Gambling Zones within 3 months, and present this to the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) of Ukraine.

This caused a number of drafts, which were all stopped due to political elections and changes, thus leaving a general ban on all gambling in place. The status quo formed the subject of a report issued this week by legal firm Vasil Kisil & Partners, and its results revealed that the new government elected in 2010 has a plan to create a new gambling regulations policy, for which it began revising the former draft gambling law. The country’s Finance Ministry presented the draft of this new plan in November 2010 under the name Draft Law of Ukraine On Gambling Games, which introduced a brand new legal regime.

This detailed study also reported that the law effectively maintains the ban on internet gambling and bookmaking, and supports the idea of a state monopoly running gambling through a National Gambling Organizer. This NGO will be state-owned, and it will take care of organization and conducting of gambling games. Private gambling operators may be engaged in business activities related to conducting gambling games organized by the National Gambling Organizer, but only if they close an agreement and receive a license from the NGO, which will apparently take the role of a licensor and regulator.

Under the new law, [land] gambling will be conducted in strict conditions in delineated areas of the country, namely: the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (excluding Sevastopol) and the territories of the following resorts: Bukovel, Truskavets, Morshyn, Mukacheve and Slavske.

Apart from this, it also specifies directly prohibited gambling activities: bookmaking, gambling games in electronic (virtual) casinos, slot machine games and interactive games and other TV and radio games requiring any participation fee to be paid by an individual (including as a telephone charge). It will be possible to lift this ban if the Draft Gambling Law is amended with specific sections regulating the relevant types of activities.

The Ministry of Finance currently accepts suggestions and concerns about the draft from interested parties, which will be reviewed by the government and may result in further changes to the draft before it is presented to the Cabinet and then the parliament.

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