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Ukraine draft law bans online gambling

Over a year ago the government of the Ukraine followed Russia's example and banished gambling, passing the Law On Prohibition of Gambling Business in Ukraine in June 2009. The legislation required that government draft a further Law On Gambling Organisation and Maintenance of Gambling Activities in the Special Gambling Zones within 3 months, and present this to the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) of Ukraine.

Since then a number of drafts have emerged, but political elections and changes bedevilled the process, leaving a general ban on all gambling in place.

A report on the status quo was published this week by legal firm Vasil Kisil & Partners, which reveals that after the presidential elections of 2010 the new government incumbents undertook to revise the former draft gambling laws and present a plan for a fresh state policy in respect of gambling regulation in the Eastern European country.

The draft of this new plan was released in early November 2010 by the Ministry of Finance, titled Draft Law of Ukraine On Gambling Games, introducing a completely new legal regime.

Vasil Kisil & Partners have studied the law in detail, and report that it effectively maintains the ban on internet gambling and bookmaking, whilst supporting the idea of a state monopoly running gambling through a National Gambling Organiser. The NGO is to be a wholly state-owned enterprise which carries out activities related to organising and conducting gambling games. Private gambling operators may be engaged in business activities related to conducting gambling games organised by the National Gambling Organiser...but only on the basis of a licence and an agreement concluded with the NGO.

In short, the NGO appears to fill the function of a licensor and regulator.

The new law makes provision for (land) gambling under strict conditions in delineated areas of the country, specifically: the Autonomous Republic of Crimea (excluding Sevastopol) and the territories of the following resorts: Bukovel, Truskavets, Morshyn, Mukacheve and Slavske.

It explicitly decrees that certain gambling activities are directly prohibited: bookmaking, gambling games in electronic (virtual) casinos, slot machine games and interactive games and other TV and radio games requiring any participation fee to be paid by an individual (including as a telephone charge). This ban may only be lifted by amending the Draft Gambling Law with specific sections regulating the relevant types of activities.

The proposal is currently through the public consultation stage, where interested parties were given an opportunity to submit their suggestions and concerns to the Ministry of Finance; these will be considered by the government and may result in further changes to the draft before it is presented to the Cabinet and then the parliament

Source: InfoPowa News

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