Ukrainian government declares war on amusement arcades

Ukrainian government declares war on amusement arcades

Prime Minister of Ukraine Oleksiy Honcharuk has ordered inspections of gambling establishments operating under the guise of lotto markets or outlets selling lottery tickets. Corresponding orders were issued by the National Police and the State Fiscal Service of Ukraine.

“Instructed the National Police of Ukraine to begin an inspection of the activities of all operators state lotteries for compliance with the law banning gambling business. And the State Fiscal Service to organize checks of licenses of all so-called state lotteries,” Goncharuk wrote on his Facebook page.

The order was the reaction of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to the refusal of the deputies of the Verkhovna Rada to pass a law on the legalization of gambling business in the country. The voting on this question took place on the previous day and the document gained 213 votes out of 226 necessary to approve it. At the same time, according to President Vladimir Zelensky, the authorities had to legalize gambling business in Ukraine by December 1, 2019.

Commenting on the decision to conduct inspections, Alexei Goncharuk stressed that “to break the system of gambling halls” he was instructed by Vladimir Zelensky after the vote in the Rada. Such actions seem justified and look logical in a situation when publicly almost all Ukrainian politicians are in favor of legalizing gambling, but at the same time delay the adoption of the law because of the strong lobby of the lottery operators. It is lottery companies now operate gambling parlors in Ukrainian cities under the guise of lottery stores, which are formally banned since 2009. The owners of the saloons hide behind licenses of operators of state lotteries and call video slots and electronic roulette visualization of draws.

“We have banned gambling, but state lotteries are allowed. And under their guise, they are covered up. We thought there would be a law that would normalize this ecosystem. There are a bunch of papers, court decisions that these comrades who call themselves lottery people are covering themselves with. But when we realized that the decision was being delayed, we decided at the president’s behest to break their legal structure, and we did. Today, the government has banned the distribution of the old license conditions. It will do so until then, until the illegal halls disappear all over the country,” said Alexei Goncharuk.

Sarah Richardson

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