President Zelensky has announced that he wants to legalize gambling once again in Ukraine, after a 10-year ban on gambling in the country. The announcement came during the President’s visit to Turkey, in an effort to court the country as a prospective casino development partner.
"We will legalize gambling, namely, the operation of casinos in five-star hotels, which will stimulate the development of the region's tourism cluster near the Black Sea. We also want to grow together here. Therefore, we want to see Turkish businesses as our partners rather than competitors," Zelensky said
After a gambling hall in Dnipro, Ukraine caught fire in 2009, nine people were killed in the incident. The tragedy prompted the government to ban all gambling halls and casinos—even online gambling. But the ban did little to stop the gambling Ukrainian public, who sought their gambling action elsewhere. Almost overnight, underground casinos and black market gambling flourished in the country.
During the Ukrainian Crisis of the past 5 years, the government has had its hands full with more pressing topics than illegal gambling halls. Several attempts were made to re-legalize gambling in Ukraine since the ban; none of them have been effective.
During Zelensky’s visit to Turkey, media sources reported that Turkey had also been complaining of its own people crossing over to Georgia for gambling tourism, noting the loss of potential income. The combination of 2 countries hoping to possibly work together on casino projects along the Black Sea coast looks promising.
“Let’s develop the Black Sea tourism brand in the world together,” Zelensky concluded.