Latest News From The Gambling Industry in Ukraine, USA and Europe
The first licensed land-based casinos and slot machine halls have been opened in Ukraine, and the Verkhovna Rada postponed consideration of bills on amendments to the rules on taxation of income from gambling business. In Latvia, the government rejected yet another bill to restrict gambling, and in Italy, the date of opening gambling establishments was announced after the lockdown. Read more about the latest developments in the gambling industry in our weekly digest!
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine postponed consideration of new legislation on taxation of gambling activities
On May 19, at a meeting of the Ukrainian parliament, Head of the Servant of the People faction David Arakhamia spoke with a proposal to change the agenda. The consideration of the following draft laws was postponed by a majority of votes: No. 2713, No. 2713-1, No. 2713-2, No. 2713-4 and No. 2713-d. They relate to amendments to the Tax Code of Ukraine on the taxation of income from the organization of gambling activities.
The gambling business stakeholders had the most hopes for the adoption of the draft law No. 2713-d that stipulates the cancellation of taxation for winnings of up to UAH 48,000. In addition, a single tax on operators' income was expected to be introduced at a rate of 10% for all types of gambling activities.
The first licensed land-based casinos and slot machine halls begin operations in Ukraine
A legal gambling market was officially launched in Ukraine: three land-based casinos and two halls with slot machines were opened in different cities of the country.
Thus, the operator named Billionaire Casino Company has already started working at InterContinental Kyiv hotel. Five halls of the establishment have 16 gaming tables with roulette, blackjack and several types of poker, as well as 50 slot machines. The halls feature 150 employees 24/7.
Shangri La Casino at Fairmont Grand Hotel in Kyiv was opened by the first licensed foreign operator in Ukraine – Storm Ukraine. The players will be served by 300 employees.
The venue under the management of Primum company began its operation at Gagarinn hotel in Odesa. The hall has nine roulette tables, 40 card tables and 300 slot machines.
On May 15, the Ukraine’s first legal hall with slot machines was opened. The venue operates under the Slots City brand at Tourist hotel in Kyiv. Geymdev LLC was introduced as the license holder. The operator also announced opening of a hall with slot machines in Zaporizhzhia at Intourist hotel.
It is worth noting that, according to the decision of the Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries dd. May 14, two organizers of gambling activities received new licenses for 232 slot machines: 80 documents were issued by Geymdev and 152 – by Primum.
Alabama rejects commercial casino, lottery and sports betting bill
The House of Representatives of the American state of Alabama did not vote for the bill concerning the activities of gambling operators, as it caused a lot of controversy.
This document provided for amendments to the state constitution, which would allow the issue of legalizing casinos, lottery and sports betting to be submitted to a referendum in 2022. It also supposed that licensee companies would be determined on the basis of results of competitive bidding. It was planned that the permission to open casinos will be given to racetracks. The intention was to issue a total of nine licenses.
Moreover, operators licensed to run casinos would have been able to accept bets on offline sports and have the right to launch up to three online betting sites in cooperation with online bookmakers.
A ten-year license would cost between $5 million and $35 million, and the tax for bookmakers would be 20% of gross income, becoming one of the highest tax rates in the United States.
The date of reopening the casinos and betting shops in Italy has been announced
On May 17, after the meeting of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, government ministers and senior health advisors, a resolution was adopted to resume the operations of bookmakers, slot machine halls and bingo games.
The establishments will open their doors to visitors again on July 1. It is known that they have not worked since October 2020 due to the unfavorable epidemiological situation in the country associated with the spread of the coronavirus.
In addition, from June 21, the curfew will be completely lifter, which is now in effect from ten in the evening to five in the morning.
Saeima of Latvia rejects another bill on restrictions for gambling business
On May 13, the Latvian Saeima rejected an amendment restricting the organization of gambling.
Earlier, the deputies proposed to prohibit the opening of gambling establishments within a radius of three kilometers from residential buildings. Also, the bill provided that the minimum number of slot machines that can be placed in one room could be increased from 20 to 40 units. It was assumed that such innovations would lead to a decrease in the number of gambling establishments.
The number of countries with a monopoly on online gambling has decreased in Europe
According to a report by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), the number of countries in Europe that still maintain a state monopoly on organizing gambling entertainment on the Internet has significantly decreased in recent years.
The study indicates that 10 years ago, in most European countries, online gambling was either not regulated at all at the legislative level, or only the state monopoly was allowed to conduct such activities. In 2009, legislation allowing operators to issue gambling licenses for various types of online gambling was introduced only in seven states, now this number has increased to 25.
It should be noted that Finland and Norway currently continue to maintain state monopolies on the organization of online gambling.
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