Ukraine’s new president says the country will legalize gambling, but most likely just one particular type of gambling in one particular region of the country.
On Thursday, President Vladimir Zelensky announced plans to legalize gambling. Specifically, President Zelensky plans to authorize the development of casinos in five-star hotels, which will stimulate the development of the tourism cluster in the south of the country near the Black Sea.
That cluster presumably refers to the area in and around Odessa.
Odessa used to attract a steady stream of tourists from Russia, although that was before the current conflict in the eastern part of Ukraine and the push is now on to rebuild the local tourism business.
President Zelensky made his remarks at a business forum in Turkey, which lies just across the Black Sea from Ukraine. Zelensky said Ukrainian companies “want to grow together, so we want to see our partners in Turkey’s business.”
Ukraine has been down this road before with little to show for it. After outlawing all gambling in 2009, the country approved draft legislation in 2015 that would have authorized land-based casinos, sports betting shops and online gambling sites. But those plans went nowhere, and efforts to resuscitate the legislation in 2017 also came to nothing.
Only time will tell if President Zelensky can pull this off, and not only bring tourism to the Odessa region but possibly bring regulated gambling back to Ukraine.