Ukraine opens its arms to gambling – but the price may still be too high

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The department put forward draft legislation intended for the regulation of lotteries, gaming machines, betting and online gambling, but due to the price of the license fees, the reception from the industry has so far been less than ecstatic.

To qualify for the new gambling licenses, operators must base their services in Ukraine, and have at least E2m in capital, to pay for a series of license fees. Initially the annual license fees ranges from E300,000 to E1m, depending on the population of the city. Some claim that only 4-5 premises will be able to afford these fees, as they currently stand.

Storm International is one company looking to enter the Ukrainian market, when the time is right. CEO Darren Keane lauded the draft and the direction of travel, but was concerned that the fees for entering the market simply don’t match its infrastructure and an operator’s projected gains. He cited the lack of four and five star hotels with more than 200 rooms in the region, as problem for casino operators.

Keane said: “When you compare it to both Armenia and Georgia, two developed gaming markets, the E1.5m proposed in Ukraine dwarfs them by a seven to one ratio. It does seem too high a price to pay to enter that market.”

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