Hilton Kyiv in Ukraine is moving forward with plans to construct two casinos inside its hotel property in the capital of the Eastern European country.
Gambling in Ukraine was banned in 2009, but the country’s legislature is inching closer towards legalizing casinos. In January, the first reading of Bill 2285-D, legislation that would allow regulated gambling inside certain hotels – as well as online – passed the 450-deputy parliament known as the Verkhovna Rada.
The bill must receive an additional successful reading and vote before it can head to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s desk. But in the meantime, Hilton Kyiv is unveiling plans for not one, but two casino floors.
According to the Kyiv Post, Hilton – should it receive licensure to operate a casino – will spend $30 million bringing slot machines and table games to the downtown hotel. Two different casino spaces are in the plans.
Along with its 262 guestrooms and suites, Hilton Kyiv features several eateries and bars, convention space, a fitness center, and a full-service spa. The US-based hotelier constructed the property in 2012.
Odds Favor Legalization
The smart money is on Ukraine ending its ban on casinos. After more than a decade of prohibition, Zelensky has pushed for legalization in an effort to rid the country of illegal gambling rings.
The 2009 anti-gambling law fueled underground networks. The president ordered police to crack down on unlawful gambling operations last year, and more than 150 suspected gambling dens were raided and shuttered by law enforcement.
Along with ridding the country of illegal gambling businesses that provide no economic benefit to the government, Zelensky’s administration estimates regulated casinos inside hotels could provide over $120 million annually in new taxes.
The President says eliminating illegal gambling, and replacing such rogue establishments with regulated casinos, will help those who are battling gambling addictions.
We will reduce the number of people spending their last money. These are mostly ordinary people. The first stage is a casino in five-star hotels, where the license will be expensive,” the head of state said.
Zelensky’s Servant of the People party holds a 248-seat majority in the Verkhovna Rada. Only a simple majority is needed to pass Bill 2285-D in the second vote.
Ukraine Gaming Industry Details
Bill 2285-D would allow up to 20 hotels to incorporate a casino floor into their properties. Ten internet casino permits would additionally be up for grabs. All of the licenses would be awarded through a competitive bidding process.
Gambling would be restricted to those aged 21 years and older. Each casino would need to measure at least 5,000 square meters (5,382 square feet), with each venue permitted a maximum of 2,000 slot machines.
Land-based gross gaming revenue (GGR) is set to be taxed at 10 percent. Tax money generated by the casinos would go to public schools, medicine, and sports.