Ukraine Passes Bill to Increase State Oversight of Gambling Industry

Ukraine's parliament passes bill to strengthen gambling oversight, dissolve regulatory commission, and impose stricter rules to protect vulnerable groups.

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Rizwan Shah
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Ukraine Passes Bill to Increase State Oversight of Gambling Industry

Ukraine Passes Bill to Increase State Oversight of Gambling Industry

The Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament, passed the first reading of a bill on April 24, 2023, aimed at bolstering state oversight of the gambling industry. The proposed legislation, backed by 272 lawmakers, seeks to dissolve the Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries and transfer its duties to the Ministry of Digital Transformation.

The bill includes further restrictions on online gambling activities, a ban on related advertisements, mechanisms for protecting at-risk groups, and stronger oversight of gambling businesses. It also outlines guidelines and conditions for canceling licenses and steps to raise the standards of gambling enterprises.

Gambling was legalized in Ukraine in 2020 after being banned since 2009. In the first two months of 2024, the gambling industry in Ukraine paid Hr 2.2 billion ($56 million) in taxes, and Hr 10.4 billion ($267 million) in 2023.

Why this matters: The passage of this bill signifies a notable move towards a more regulated and responsible gambling environment in Ukraine. The proposed changes aim to mitigate the potential harm caused by gambling and address concerns raised about the industry's impact on society, particularly on vulnerable populations such as military personnel.

President Volodymyr Zelensky recently enacted a decree to address the adverse societal impacts of online gambling, including a temporary ban for military personnel during martial law. The decree instructs the Cabinet of Ministers to introduce a ban on soldiers accessing gambling establishments or participating in online gambling during martial law. It also tasks the Security Service of Ukraine with completing inspections of gambling organizers within two months.

The bill now requires a second reading and the president's signature to become law. If passed, it will bring about significant changes to Ukraine's gambling landscape, with the Digital Transformation Ministry assuming regulatory responsibilities and implementing stricter rules on the industry. The proposed measures are expected to raise the standards of gambling enterprises and provide better protection for vulnerable populations.

Key Takeaways

  • Ukraine's parliament passed a bill to strengthen gambling oversight.
  • The bill aims to dissolve the gambling regulator and transfer duties to the Digital Transformation Ministry.
  • The bill includes restrictions on online gambling, ad bans, and stronger business oversight.
  • Gambling was legalized in Ukraine in 2020, generating $267M in taxes in 2023.
  • The bill requires a second reading and president's signature to become law.