In the middle of an international crisis, Ukraine is trying to improve its gambling regulations and maintain the market secure and safe. New changes have been proposed by the government, and if they're accepted, banks won't be able to lend money to self-excluded customers.
The Committee of the Verkhovna Rada on Finance, Tax, and Customs Policy proposed an amendment that will ensure banks are double checking if the individuals who are requesting lends aren't self-excluded from betting, including both online gambling and various land-based casinos in the country. Those not on the list of self-excluded gamblers won't be able to get credit from the bank. The amendment has not been approved yet.
The Ukrainian Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (KRAIL) a few months ago announced that the number of self-excluded players is increasing, and that was concerning to all included parties in Ukraine.
From January to April this year, 245 people made it to this list. Compared to last year, when the entire list consisted of 315 people, and 2021 when there were only 195 people total, the number of 687 by the end of April was a massive increase.
This isn't the first change of the gambling law in Ukraine in the recent period. Only last month, the new law regarding procedures required for organizations subjected to anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing risk was approved, and Ukrainian operators will have to pass more detailed inspections. Operators are warned about unscheduled inspections as well. The government's action plan for 2023 included new KRAIL proposals, including a whole set of new regulations related to canceling and suspending licenses. One of the main points of discussion was whether the operators who are offering their services in occupied territories should continue working.
Future of KRAIL up in the air
KRAIL keeps working on new regulations, but its future is also uncertain. Mykhailo Fedorov, the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, in May, submitted a proposal that can make KRAIL be replaced by the new regulatory body. Besides being a Deputy Prime Minister, Fedorov is also a Minister for Digital Transformation, and his main concern about the body is its failure when it comes to the late issuing of gambling licenses to operators.
KRAIL currently consists of a chairman and six members, and for a license to be approved, five members must be present at a meeting. When the war began, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, a President, signed the major decree “On the introduction of martial law in Ukraine”, which led to some KRAIL members being mobilized into military service, which prevented KRAIL meetings from happening.
Source: “Ukraine Gambling Regulations Self Exclusion”. iGaming Business. August 7, 2023.