Casinos in Ukraine 2017
The situation with gambling in Ukraine is no less complicated than with casinos in Russia. Lobbying interests of individual officials and prominent people in business, poisonous populism, incompetence and corruption of the current power elite and social barriers - these and many other factors prevent gambling to thrive legally in the country. In the news, there have been many articles about the subject of gambling in the country such as "The Ministry of Finance is going to legalise casinos" and "The Cabinet of Ministers in favour of the legalisation of gambling". Saakashvili almost begins to build his casino in Odessa, and those in favour of gambling are Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Minister of Finance Natalia Yaresko.
It is all just one big bubble. The situation with casinos in Ukraine in 2017 is exceptionally complicated and hardly will get underway from a place in the nearest future. The country has banned all casinos and bookmakers, and last year the most reliable pressure was put on the lottery business. Initially, gambling was prohibited in 2009 after the tragic incident in Dnepropetrovsk in one of the slot machine parlours. As a result, nine people died in the fire, and eleven were injured.
Punishment for committing gambling crime
In late 2014 the head of Internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov in his famous post on Facebook wrote:
"By the end of the week, all illegal gambling establishments will be closed. Those who break the laws will deal with the head of the regional police department. Punishment will be tough. I order the Ministry of Internal Affairs to stop all operations related to gambling (lottery) and close all gaming establishments in Kiev and then across the country in the coming days. The police will no longer be any arbitrator or watchman of ingenious schemes of these dubious games. I'm tired of conflicts and trade-offs. I’m tired of patching holes." Under the pressure of the Ukrainian authorities, some success was made in this matter, and many gambling establishments were closed and remain so to this day. Moreover, not only slots parlours but several poker clubs were also closed even though they worked quite legally. Find out more about the situation of gambling in Ukraine in 2015.
Lottery business in Ukraine
There are a lot of Russian lottery operators on the Ukrainian market. Due to the significant deterioration of the political situation, tough economic sanctions were applied. From 1 January 2016, they have to give 18% of the profits, 15% of the winnings, plus 10% of the turnover. This is the heavy tax burden over the lifetime of the industry and the bill designed to soften the "punishment" was not adopted. So, the situation in the gambling sector will only worsen. By the way, the gambling in Ukraine is divided into casinos, bookmakers and lotteries. Several bills related to each gambling activity were on the lawmaker's agenda to be discussed, but even today there are no comprehensive solutions to the gambling issue. Either they disregard it or simply ignore the subject.
Ukraine follows the path of the Russian underground market. Until recently (and most likely now) there is a massive number of rooms in the country with Instant Lotteries which are mostly the same as slot machines. Such institutions are difficult to control since the work of instant lotteries is not registered or spelt out quite dull in the country's legislation. This allows enterprising Ukrainians to provide services and open clubs with instant lotteries called "turnkey". This is how to open a franchise: find pre-trained people to install the equipment and then make the profit. Many of these clubs are located in crowded places. Law enforcement agencies are not particularly willing to fight with them. Firstly, they are under their roof of the country's officials and secondly, there are so many of them. That's why Avakov started growling and sputter.
Online casinos in Ukraine
Ukrainian online gambling landscape differs from the Russian. For example, there is “Volcano Casino" called the "King." The operator disposes of many off-line and online platforms. In general, the virtual casino market is indeed much smaller than the Russian, but it exists.
Gambling is illegal in Ukraine and probably won't be legalised either in 2016 or 2017, respectively. The country has a thriving underground business bringing huge profits not only to the owners of gambling outlets but also to the officials and law enforcement agencies. It's a vicious circle. At a legislative level, there is an unspoken division of casinos, bookmakers and lotteries. However, operators are languishing due to the increased taxes and harsh sanctions from the beginning of 2016.