Ukraine To Further Excise Russian Influence As It Prepares Slate Of Amendments

March 23, 2023
Ukraine is preparing yet more measures to prevent Russia’s incursion into its gambling market, with the country set to ban the use of any brands that are owned by Russians.


Ukraine is preparing yet more measures to prevent Russia’s incursion into its gambling market, with the country set to ban the use of any brands that are owned by Russians.

The move comes as Ukraine’s Council of Ministers accepts three legislative proposals developed by the country’s Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (KRAIL), adding them to the government’s priority action plan for 2023.

In the coming months, the draft bills are to be submitted to the Verkhovna Rada, the country’s unicameral parliament.

The first draft bill is entitled “On the Specificity of State Regulation in the Sphere of Organisation and Performance of Gambling and Lottery Games During the Legal Regime of Martial Law” and is to be submitted this April, according to the plan.

It will enable KRAIL to suspend licences of businesses whose activities were halted by Russia’s ongoing invasion and renew their licences once the situation allows.

The draft bill would also prohibit the use of brands which are owned by Russian residents and allow the regulator to cancel the licences of those gambling and lottery operators who carry out activities in areas under Russian occupation despite the government’s ban on such operations.

The second piece of draft legislation, entitled “On Amendments to Certain Laws of Ukraine Regarding the Improvement of Legal Regulation of Activities in the Gambling Market”, is to be sent to the parliament in October.

Its purpose is to provide KRAIL with new tools to combat the submission of falsified data by firms which apply for gambling licences.

In addition to this, the bill would reduce the list of required documents that need to be submitted to apply for a licence.

Misleading information submitted by licence holders in their applications was among the issues cited for the controversial approval of 1xBet in Ukraine in August 2022, before it was later ejected from the market over alleged Russian links.

The second bill would also ease the procedure to invest in the gambling industry and introduce “transparent requirements and rules for certification and inspection of gambling equipment”.

Other provisions are related to measures to combat gambling addiction, according to the plan.

The third draft bill will be submitted in July and would introduce amendments to the blacklisting of unlicensed gambling websites.

The plan says the bill’s provisions will optimise “the number of state registers whose maintenance is entrusted to the KRAIL by combining them” and reduce their number from eight to three.

In the plan, the government has also asked the regulator to prepare a draft ordinance that will create the legal framework for the rollout of a promised state online monitoring system (SOMS) for Ukraine’s gambling industry. A draft is to be submitted to the Cabinet this June, according to the document.

The Ukrainian regulator said in a statement that the Cabinet adopted the action plan last week.

KRAIL said the government had rejected its proposal related to introducing new rules for “ensuring a clear and open procedure for conducting a competition for the selection of operators of state lotteries”.

Taking into consideration that the Servant of the People Party of Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy holds a majority of 238 of the 450 seats in the Verkhovna Rada, the three legislative proposals are likely to be passed by Ukrainian lawmakers.

Earlier this year, the regulator said that, over the course of 2022, it had received a total of 667 applications for gambling licences from local companies. Of these, KRAIL approved 603 applications.

The agency rejected 63 applications due to various errors, and one application was dismissed due to other reasons, according to the regulator.

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