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Ukraine seeks to streamline licence suspension process

| By Zak Thomas-Akoo
A set of proposals submitted by the Ukrainian regulator, the Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (KRAIL), have been included in the government’s 2023 action plan, including a reform of laws concerning the process of suspending and cancelling the licences of gambling operators.

Ukraine’s council of ministers approved the 2023 government action plan on 14 March, a document that includes more than 500 government priorities for the year. The list includes a number of draft laws, resolutions and other projects that the government said will aim to systemise its approach to policy in the year ahead.

Process reform

Among the proposals is a draft law that is to be submitted to the Rada – the country’s legislative body – that concerns the procedures of suspending operator licences during martial law, and enumerates formal steps of reviewing these measures after martial law is cancelled.

the draft law includes steps to review licence suspensions after the end of martial law

The law also contains provisions prohibiting the use in Ukraine of gambling businesses’ brands owned by residents of aggressor states, as well as creating processes that would suspend the licences of gaming operators if businesses offer games of chance in any Ukrainian territory occupied by hostile foreign powers.

State capacity improvements

The regulator also proposes a far-reaching draft law that would aim to improve the country’s state capacity in the field of gaming regulation. The proposal seeks to bolster the current procedures in suspending, renewing and cancelling licences, establish a new framework for certifying and inspecting gaming equipment and increase the effectiveness of state supervision of the gaming market.

The law would also aim to strengthen legal mechanisms to minimise problem gambling, increase state revenues, combat the illegal market, as well as improve mechanisms of implementation of investment activity to the country’s gaming market.

Parimatch suspension

The reform of the country’s gambling regime happens against the backdrop of the ongoing invasion of the country by the armed services of the Russian Federation. In that context, Ukraine has been quick to the suspend the licences of operators who conducted operations in Russia or Russian-occupied territory.

This month, sporting betting operator Parimatch found itself the victim of such government sanctions, against charges which the operator vigorously denied.

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