Legalization Of Casinos In Ukraine: Causes And Effects

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On August 8, 2023, during a visit to Turkey, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that gambling, including casinos, which are located in 5-star hotels will be legalized in Ukraine. This was a clear signal to Turkish business to attract its investment in tourism in southern Ukraine. As reported, for the joint development of the Black Sea brand. 

Zelenskyy said that the law adoption on the gambling legalization will stimulate the construction of new 5-star hotels in Ukraine. The president announced this during a press marathon on October 10. 

According to the Ukrainian president, the law will stipulate that 5-star hotels that will have at least 200 rooms for Kiev and 150 rooms for the Ukrainian regions will be able to get a license to organize gambling business. 

“We have five-star hotels on the market, but they are very small. There is no way to make a casino. We need a test of how people will fight for these licenses. We want hotels to be built,” Zelenskyy said. 

The president also hopes that the gambling business legalization will allow "to remove the gaming history from the streets". Funds from the licenses sale for the gambling organization will be directed to the development of sports and medicine. 

According to government estimates, budget revenues from the gambling legalization may amount to 2-2.5 billion UAH ($ 82.9 - $ 103.7 million) per year. 

Gambling is really popular, and, most importantly, a profitable tourist attraction. In many countries of the world it is illegal, which could potentially contribute to the influx of tourists from such countries to Ukraine if the casino is legalized here. 

In Ukraine, gambling was banned in 2009. For violation of this law, owners of such establishment may be fined eight thousand minimum salaries - more than 33.3 million hryvnias ($ 1.3 million), and property confiscated. 

Analysts estimate world global gambling revenues at $ 130 billion per year. The largest casinos in Las Vegas can earn up to $ 14 billion in a year. At the same time, such establishments provide numerous high-paying jobs. 

Neighboring Georgia is the closest example, of what Ukraine can expect. Gambling in Georgia is legal, although it is strictly regulated. In order to open a casino in Georgia, an investor will have to pay a contribution of 5 million lari ($ 1.7 million). However, the country's authorities encourage the development of the gambling business and provide benefits for opening casinos in tourist cities such as Batumi (where the fee is reduced by 20 times). 

Casinos in Georgia generate $ 2.2 billion in revenue annually (14% of the country's GDP). Tax revenues from the gambling business are growing annually, and in 2023 reached $ 47.6 million. Moreover, as in the case of the Philippines, the majority of casino visitors are foreigners, mainly from neighboring Muslim states, where gambling is strictly prohibited. 

International operators are already waiting for the final requirements to start the casino launch in Ukraine. So, the leader of the post-Soviet space, Storm International, has been waiting for many years for the gambling legalization here. Darren Keane, Storm International CEO, believes that a well-designed law will allow everyone to benefit. Ukraine will receive significant tax deductions, operators will expand their business and make a profit, casino players and tourists will get places for a quality safe rest. 

Also, high-paying jobs will be created in the country and Darren Keane and Shangri La network believe that the Ukrainian employees of the company, who arrived in casinos of Belarus, Georgia, Armenia and Latvia, will be happy to work in Ukraine. This is a great opportunity to return Ukrainian citizens to their homes and families.

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