(June 30, 2009) On June 23, 2009, President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine signed a law that prohibits gambling in the country. On June 11, the Verkhovna Rada (legislature) had overridden a presidential veto of the Law on Prohibition of Gambling Business and Participation in Games of Chance in Ukraine. Earlier, on May 7, 2009, the Cabinet of Ministers had issued a regulation under which all licenses granted to casinos and other gambling establishments were suspended for one month. The reason for this measure was a fire that occurred on May 7, 2009, in one of the game arcades in the central Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrivsk, resulting in nine fatalities.
The Law entered into force on the day of its announcement and will remain valid until adoption of special legislation to regulate gambling businesses in specially designated geographic areas. Under the Law, all previously issued gambling business licenses are cancelled, and new licenses for this type of activity will not be issued. Violations will be punished with a fine of an amount approximately equal to US$640,000 and seizure of gaming equipment. More than 10,000 arcades and other gaming establishments have been closed since these regulations came into force. (Yushchenko Signed a Law Prohibiting Gambling in Ukraine, NEWSRU.COM, June 23, 2009, available at http://www.newsru.com/finance/23jun2009/automatukr_print.html.)