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GTI Global Network > News > International
Ukraine pledges to legalize gambling by 2018 (2017/07/10)

Ukraine has made the pledge in an effort to assure the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the country is worthy of a financial assistance package worth $17.5 billion (€16.5 billion).  Ukraine received the first $1 billion instalment of the package, but after reviewing the condition of the country’s economy, the IMF warned that it “must break the legacy of weak governance and stop-and-go reforms” in order to generate sustainable growth.  The legalization of gambling would enable the country to tax such activities and generate more income, with analysts estimating that Ukraine could bring in up to $1.5 billion per year.  Ukraine operators have not been able to offers any gambling or betting services since prohibition was introduced in 2009.  In 2015, the country introduced a draft gambling bill that proposed opening the market to land-based casinos, sports betting and online gaming, but legalisation of such activities is yet to take place.  It is not yet clear as to what forms of gambling Ukraine plans to legalise by 2018.  Meanwhile, plans for transforming Ukraine’s annexed Crimea peninsular into a ‘gambling zone’ for Russia are moving forward.  Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov told the Tass news agency that the zone is designed to avoid international economic sanctions imposed on Russia after it seized control of the territory.  “There are certain arrangements that will make it possible [for investors] to bypass the sanctions,” Aksyonov said.  “I will keep quiet about such secrets for now; nobody will agree to invest in this project if there were doubts this plan might not work.”

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