Licensing

Ukraine regulator issues first licence to Cosmolot operator Spaceiks

| By Daniel O'Boyle
Ukraine’s Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (KRAIL) has approved the first licence under the country’s 2020 Gambling Act, an online casino licence for operator Spaceiks.

According to reports in Ukraine, Spaceiks LLC operates the Cosmolot brand, which was once owned by the country’s National Lottery but was discontinued in 2019.

The operator must now pay the UAH39m online licence fee, after which it may be awarded a five-year licence.

Spaceiks applied for a licence in December 2020, and though the Commission initially required further information on Spaceiks’ ownership structure in order to ensure it met the requirement that licensees are based in Ukraine, it nonetheless became the first operator to be approved.

“Yesterday at the KRAIL meeting the application of Spaceiks LLC to obtain a license to organise and conduct gambling casinos on the Internet was considered,” the regulator said. “After reviewing the documents, the application was approved.”

Cosmolot chief executive Sergey Potapov said he was excited to finally see the start of Ukraine’s regulated market after a long journey to legalisation.

“Obtaining a license is an important step,” he said. “The road to legalization has been long, but the creation of a white market is totally worth it.

“I really do appreciate the team’s effort: the guys prepared for this day for several months. We should also pay tribute to the Commission – it’s great when a government authority works quickly and accurately.”

Ukraine’s gambling act – which allowed online gambling, bookmaking, slot halls and land-based casinos located in hotels – was signed into law in August 2020 after Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, passed it in a 248-95 vote at the second reading the previous month.

The act includes certain location restrictions on operators. As well as needing to form a Ukraine-based business to receive a licence, operators must not have a Russian resident or citizen act as a shareholder or Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO).

Bookmakers’ licence fees will be UAH70.8m while the fee for casinos in hotels in Kyiv will be UAH141.6m, while elsewhere this fee is UAH70.8m. The licence fee for online poker is UAH23.7m. Tax rates have still not been finalised, however, despite several different tax bills all being introduced.In June 2020,

In June, Oleg Marusyak – who introduced the Gambling Act – filed a new tax bill, 2713-D. This would set a 5% GGR tax on bookmaking, 10% for online gambling and for lotteries and 12.5% for slot machines. However, it is unclear if this proposal will be put into place as four earlier tax bills had been introduced, and the Rada may choose to pass another new one.

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