Licensing of gambling in Ukraine: the license for the casino | Law&Trust International

Just a few years ago, the gaming community could not even imagine that Ukraine would be able to open its doors to the legal casino. The prosperous bookmakers had to turn down their clients who wanted a wider range of services, or to look for other jurisdictions to realize themselves not only as the bookmaker, but also as the Casino provider.
And now, after the law was adopted, it would seem that everything has changed, it's time to return to your home country, accept foreign investors and, having received a license, legally accept clients from Ukraine.
It's not that simple.
Let's get insight into the meaning of the Law on Gambling in Ukraine and the prospects for its application.
First, what is the gambling in Ukraine? How do you determine that you need a license?  Under the law of Ukraine, the gambling is any game, for participation in which you will need a bet that gives you the opportunity to win a prize, the amount of which and the probability of getting it fully or partially depend on the chance or player’s knowledge and skills.
In order for this or that event or game to be categorized as the gambling, it should meet all of the following criteria:

  • it has a bet;
  • chance of winning or not winning a prize
  • probability of winning a prize and its amount entirely or partially depends on the chance.

The following types of gambling activities are subject to licensing:

  1. Casino, which includes roulette, poker, cards, dice, slot machines
  2. Bookmaker activity: bets on independent events against the bookmaker or directly between the players.

At the same time, the gambling does not include:

  • creative contests, sports competition events, regardless of the presence of a prize in any form;
  • billiards, bowling and other games without a prize;
  • claw vending machine with a prize exclusively in the form of a material object;
  • lotteries and sale of lottery tickets;
  • sports poker.

If you pay attention to the list of licensed games and the list of exceptions, the concept of gambling is not only strictly limited, but also very narrowed.
So, for example, the games in claw vending machines, although they meet all gambling criteria, are classified as the exceptions. This means that Lootboxes with the similar mechanism will also fall under this exception.
In addition, all sports events are classified as non-gambling games, but the issue of e-sports events has not been solved yet, where, in addition to the prize, there is a buy-in for the game.
You understand that your game requires licensing. Which license should you choose?
The law provides for many types of licenses, for all occasions.
Let's divide them into types:

1. Game licenses:

  • for land-based casino,
  • for online casino;
  • for both land-based and online bets;
  • for land-based slot machines;
  • for online poker;
  • to carry out activities on pari-mutuel betting at the hippodrome;

2. Premises license:

  • for gambling table and / or for gaming table with the roulette wheel;
  • for bookmaker's office;
  • for gambling machine;

3. Auxiliary:

  • B2B service provider license;
  • Investment license.

When organizing a land-based casino, the gaming license cannot exist on its own, in addition to the operating license itself, you will need to obtain a license for each slot machine, table and roulette. The case is much easier for the online gambling license. However, it also has strict software requirements. All suppliers must be licensed.

What Do You Need to Obtain License?

First of all, you will need to be patient, since the legislation is new and the law-abiding state authorities have not yet studied all possible pitfalls and are just beginning to adopt international experience of considering licensing applications. Therefore, the process will be long and the path is thorny.
Secondly, you will need to invest fairly large amount of funds.
The authorized capital should be approximately equal to 1 million euros at current UAH rate.
The company must also be registered in Ukraine and have the bank guarantee amounting to slightly over 1 million euros.
The license fee will depend on the type of license and will amount to 8 million euros for the land-based casino in Kyiv and 920 thousand euros for online gambling in Ukraine, and this does not count the costs for licensing software and physical hardware in Casino rooms.
Thirdly, it is necessary to comply with all the regulator’s requirements. Namely:

  • Resident company of Ukraine.
  • Impeccable reputation of its founders and all executives.
  • All necessary policies and operating conditions are in place to comply with  21-year age limit and responsible gambling requirements.
  • Availability of the premises approved in accordance with the Law.
  • Licensed software.
  • Domain .ua for the online platform.

The license is issued for 5 years, which is a fairly long period during which the company can cover the costs incurred at the start.
If you have decided to be pioneers and are ready to capture the Ukrainian market right now, you need to contact trusted specialists with many years of experience in jurisdictions, whose ideas were laid down in the Law on Gambling of Ukraine. Such specialists will help speed up and facilitate the procedure for obtaining a license, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in development of a new market.

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