Gambling business in Ukraine was banned in 2009. Although, there is an opinion that gambling establishments continued to operate – both in underground clubs and on the Internet. And so, in the summer of 2020, a new stage began in the history of the country: the legalization of casinos in Ukraine, and the gambling business began to work officially.
The new law on the gambling legalization, signed in August 2020, gives the green light to lotteries, bookmakers, slot machines, land-based and online casinos in Ukraine. In short, everything that was in the gray zone. Previously, the state stood on the sidelines. Now everything is different: the law promises huge injections into the state budget. Alas, at the same time it raises many questions. And all because of the contradictions that it contains.
In this article, we will talk about the advantages of legislative changes, discuss the main norms and nuances of the law, analyze the benefits for players, for the inhabitants of the country and the consequences for the casino.
To begin with, let us note that the Law is already active, but some of the norms prescribed in it will take effect only after 2.5 years.
Who is allowed to open a casino, slot machine room or bookmaker’s office
Opening a hall with games and accepting sports bets is allowed for a company that is a resident of Ukraine, which was created and operates on the Ukrainian territory. Its authorized capital cannot be less than 30 million hryvnias – necessarily in cash.
Sounds great. Previously, gamblers worried that roulette tables and one-armed bandits were programmed in such a way that you can win only at first in order to lure into the game, and then the machine takes everything and does not give any winnings. In online casinos, the situation is much more severe. There, in order to understand from which server the slot is loaded, you need to go through a long quest. And it is not a fact that the truth will be established. In Ukrainian casinos operating under the Law, there is no need to worry about possible manipulations by the administration of the institution.
You can open an online casino or betting club only on the website in the UA domain zone. At the same time, gamblers located in Ukraine and abroad can place bets on the official website of the Ukrainian casino or the slot site.
What is the State System of Online Monitoring?
The main tool for controlling the gambling market is the State Online Monitoring System. In what follows, for ease of perception, we will call it Online Monitoring. Each casino owner, whether offline or online, is obliged to connect the gaming equipment to this system, while its connection and use for the casino is free.
What is the role of online monitoring to legalize casinos in Ukraine? First of all, in order to continuously monitor the cash flow of operators in real time, including accepting bets and paying out winnings. All this promises to make the filling of the budget from the gambling business transparent and complete.
Online monitoring is primarily aimed at combating income concealment. We agree with the authors of the law: it will significantly complicate cover-ups, make the gambling business transparent, and thus ensure the expected revenues to the state budget. And not only this. Most online publications, analyzing the Law on the Legalization of Gambling, focus on replenishing the budget, while forgetting about the players who go to a gambling establishment not at all to replenish the state budget. They go to play in the hope of winning.
If you play in an unscrupulous institution that manipulates the results of bets and installs script instead of the original software, it is unrealistic to win. Conversely, in a legally operating establishment, the player is counting on a random number generator. And in such conditions, the probability of winning becomes significant – not much less than the probability of winning the casino (just because the casino always has a slight advantage over the player). If you know everything is fair, even a loss can be lived through without drama.
For the reasons described above, one of the main functions of Online Monitoring is to protect the players’ rights. As the most important tool for legalizing casinos in Ukraine, it is also designed to minimize the manifestation of gambling addiction. It can remotely turn off slot machines, and also provides permanent access to the gambling organizers to the register of persons who have limited access to gambling establishments.
What do gambling professionals think?
Many foreign operators have been waiting for the moment when Ukraine will legalize casinos. Several large international companies, including Michael Boettcher’s Shangri La by Storm International, are preparing to enter the Ukrainian market and open licensed casinos. These establishments will bring with them an international level of play and recreation, which in itself is very good for the state.
It is expected that the appearance of official gambling complexes will return to Ukraine some of the citizens who left to work in similar establishments in other countries. So, in the units of Storm International, Darren Keane, the managing director of the company said, there are many Ukrainians. Many of them will be happy to return home and work closer to their families.
In addition to funding the budget, experts predict the development of the tourism industry thanks to casinos. For example, Shangri La, Darren Keane notes, is ready to open several VIP complexes in the resort area. Other international operators have the same intentions. This means the improvement of entire regions and the creation of thousands of jobs with decent wages.