Darren Keane, CEO of Storm International was interviewed by gaming industry website CalvinAyre.com on proposed gaming legislation in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Finance presented a draft legislation intended to regulate casinos, sports betting and online gaming. Today the gaming business is illegal in the country since it was banned in 2009, but the government came to an understanding that in the case of prohibition, social risks are higher including corruption, illegal operations, crime growth and the state budget losing taxation.
After long debates held by the government and the parliament and a couple conferences where business representatives expressed their opinion on how the gaming business should be regulated, the new draft law was proposed. Storm International previously announced its interest in entering the Ukrainian market in case of the proper legislation. In the opinion of Storm's directors, the current draft law has its benefits but also some weak points.
After reviewing the new draft gaming law Storm International's CEO Darren Keane had the following to say: "We do not believe that casinos should be only restricted to four and five star hotels with more than 200 rooms as there are too few hotels that match these criteria in the Ukraine. The size of the operations is also an issue. Limiting casinos only to hotels will first limit the maximum amount of tables and slots possible. This will in turn limit the amount of taxes payable on both areas and will give less space for casino restaurants, relaxation areas and concert facilities. Other issues will arise due to space and conformity of working within the given hotels such as car parking, independent kitchens and bars. Without additional services it will also be difficult to reach the 250 minimum requirements of staff."
On the license fee issue and taxation Mr. Keane said: "The proposed yearly license fee is a fair price that should be paid yearly in the local currency. Failure to do so should mean immediate closure. The proposed annual table and slot taxes are acceptable numbers and are in line with neighboring countries tax codes. These should be paid on a monthly or quarterly basis to give the operator the flexibility of adding or removing equipment."