The first casinos in Ukraine will open in major cities. Such forecasts are made by experts after President Volodymyr Zelensky’s statement on the legalization of gaming facilities in five-star hotels.
“We will legalize gambling, namely the operation of casinos in 5-star hotels. This will stimulate the development of a tourism cluster in the Black Sea region,” Zelenskyy said.
And although there is no corresponding bill yet, the market has a hope for the market restoration, which for many years has been officially banned.
Hoteliers refrain from official comment but admit that they closely monitor the development of the event.
According to experts, the first gambling halls in hotels may begin to appear about six months after the relevant law is passed in the Verkhovna Rada.
Although a lot will depend on the cost of the license, Vladimir Zelensky did not name a single price tag, so it is not known how much the authorities will ask for the right to earn on excitement. Previously, prices varied in a very wide range – from € 300 thousand to € 2 million. Now experts have different expectations for the licenses cost.
The leading European casino operator, Storm International, shared his thoughts on the fact that Ukraine is again trying to legalize the casino. Darren Keane, Storm International CEO, said: “We are pleased to note that the new Ukrainian government is actively setting reasonable rules for the gaming sector. We have been waiting for these changes for many years. If an adequate law is passed, everyone will benefit Ukraine, business, tourism, and visitors. Obviously, the ban never works; it only makes additional problems with clandestine and illegal gambling and corruption.
Ukraine is a very promising gaming market for Storm International, Darren Keane underlined, since the holding is the leader in the field of casino management in this part of Europe, and if there is a legislative base, it will do everything possible to create its own business. At the moment, the company has many employees from Ukraine who had to look for work outside their country. They work in our casinos in Tbilisi, Minsk, Yerevan, and Riga. I believe that many of them will be happy about the chance to return home and work there.”
About the future work of the casino
Potentially, 10-20 casinos may open in Ukraine. Moreover, the new license cost can vary from 1 million to several million dollars a year, depending on the location. For example, in Kiev, it should have cost more than, say, in Kharkov. This is logical. And in the coastal zone, it would be possible to make the license price minimal so that they would be more willing to invest there.
Attempts to legalize casinos were made by the previous government. The Ministry of Finance and President Poroshenko, but then his party did not have a majority in the Rada, and the necessary law was not adopted. Many times they tried to return the casino on the various deputies’ initiative. Over the past ten years, various bills have been introduced into the Rada several times. In most cases, it was proposed to allow hotels to open casinos based on their rooms number and area.
For example, in 2014, in the government draft law No. 1571 “On the activities of casinos in Ukraine,” the license was valued at 1.3 million euros. Then they wanted to give it away immediately for 5 years. And gambling zones could be accommodated only in five-star hotels with at least 100 rooms and a total area of 1,500 square meters. In addition, the hotel should have worked at least 120 people. Maybe they will keep these principles now.