In search of new sources of replenishment of the budget, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine came to the conclusion that it is necessary to legalize the gambling business in Ukraine. According to preliminary estimates, more than 4 million hryvnias can be received from the operators’ activities in the first month. So far, only the Gold-cup lottery is allowed in the country. In the future, ground gaming stations will officially operate in hotels from 3 to 5 stars.
THE MAIN PROVISIONS OF THE BILL
The new bill No. 2285-d “On state regulation of activities related to the organization and conduct of gambling” suggests that:
- the classical system of lottery monopoly will be introduced. In fact, it still exists at the moment;
- operators will be able to organize online slots such as online betting Malaysia and conduct their activities on the Internet openly, as well as open land-based casinos;
- operators will be able to sell their applications in the official AppStore and Google Play stores. At the moment, only the mobile version of the Gold Cup lottery is available there;
- government measures aimed at combating gambling addiction will not apply to the gambling business in the country.
ADVANTAGES OF LEGALIZING GAMBLING BUSINESS
Bill # 2285-d causes a lot of controversy among government officials, so it has not yet been finally adopted. Many deputies, including those from the presidential party, believe that he is extremely necessary for Ukraine. The legalization of the gambling business has a number of advantages. First, gambling points will become an additional source of funding for the state budget. It is planned that budget revenues will amount to about 1 billion hryvnias every year. This money will be used to close the external economic debt of Ukraine, as well as to develop internal spheres, in particular, medical and educational. Secondly, the bill assumes that the production and certification of gaming equipment will be localized in the country. This will help create new jobs. In addition, production will also provide the state with additional budget revenues. As for imports, the import of equipment that was produced before 2019 will be prohibited. And thirdly, there is a demand for gambling in Ukraine not only from players but also from foreign investors. They will attract additional capital to the country. In particular, the well-known gaming operator Net Holding is planning to enter the Ukrainian market.
DISADVANTAGES OF LEGALIZING GAMBLING BUSINESS
Undoubtedly, a balanced and professional gambling business organization can contribute to a significant increase in state budget revenues. However, there are also some pitfalls that citizens should be aware of as well. First, gambling establishments will indirectly take away profits from small and medium-sized businesses. On their territory, such establishments offer all kinds of treats, drinks, souvenirs, and so on. Because of this, entrepreneurs incur losses and are forced to cut the number of jobs or the salary of employees. Some do not stand up to competition and close down altogether. Secondly, the legalization of the gambling business will contribute to the emergence of gambling addiction among the population. Studies have shown that people who live close to gambling establishments (up to 80 kilometers) have an increased risk of becoming gambling addicts. It should be noted that the Ukrainian bill provides for measures to counter the growth of gambling addiction in the country:
- persons who are over 21 years old can visit gambling establishments;
- relatives through the court can prohibit the addicted person from gambling;
- a unified register of gambling addicts will be created;
- at the entrance to the gambling establishment, each visitor will have to present a passport for his identification.
Thirdly, many experts are confident that with the adoption of the bill, a “handicraft” gambling business will be launched, beneficial only to the local political elite. The lack of foreign capital will lead to the fact that the country will not have funds for the construction of new hotels, restaurants, business centers, and other infrastructure tied to the gambling business.