Ukraine’s legal committee that advises the legislature has warned that the proposed creation of a gambling regulator as mentioned in the country’s draft gambling legislation may be unconstitutional. The Legal Department of the Verkhovna Rada claimed in a note attached to the bill that only the executive of the state has the power to form a regulatory body, such as a gambling regulator.
The draft bill currently states that the parliamentary Committee on Finance, Tax and Customs Policy has the power to instate Tender Commission members, who will then have the power to select the members as well as the chairperson of the proposed gambling commission.
The Legal Department noted that a Rada committee does not have the power to appoint any members to form a regulatory body, as per the Ukrainian constitution. Instead, they argued, only the Prime Minister can have the authority to enact such actions.
The Legal Department made it clear that the powers accorded to Rada committee members are clearly defined in the constitution, warning that attempting to circumvent this could lead to greater problems later on. Such members are only allowed to enact draft law, consider issues directly associated with their powers, and carry out control functions as defined by the Constitution.
Bill Language on Foreign Owners Criticized
The Legal Department also made notes on other aspects of the draft gambling bill. The bill must clarify its language related to the allowed gambling operators and suppliers. The bill states that either party must not be owned by “residents of an occupying state and/or the aggressor state in relation to Ukraine,” which the Legal Department claimed was was ambiguously stated.
The Legal Department stated that, while they agree with the legislature that the concept expressed by the bill could legally be tenable, the language must first be amended to make the meaning clear and immune to malicious interpretations.
Draft Bill Slowly Progressing
The draft bill was originally scheduled to be read by the Rada for the second time on June 18. This was later postponed. The bill passed its first reading in January 2020, after being rejected in the previous month after an initial vote.
Ukraine will also consider a new proposal for taxation on gambling, which was filed by Marusyak. The proposal sets the GGR tax on bookmaking at 5%, 12.5% for slot machines, and 10% for online gambling activities and lotteries.