The issue of legalization of cannabis in Ukraine is not on the agenda as the country has enough more important problems, which are of a higher priority, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said. “We are not talking about legalization of cannabis at present. But I know that very many people want to do this business in Ukraine. But we can discuss this only when we know that we are really talking about medical marijuana,” Zelensky said during a press marathon in Kyiv on Thursday.
He said he is convinced that it is necessary to find answers to all acute questions on this matter first.
“I don’t want us to be told tomorrow that we have allowed everyone to take drugs, why do we need that? We have very many problems. It seems to me that those who want this will put up with waiting,” Zelensky said.
The president said he has not seen a relevant registered bill from the Servant of the People faction.
“I think now is not the right time. Not now, it’s not a priority. We haven’t written out all the risks associated with it. We should not be compared, for example, to Canada, other countries,” Zelensky said.
He said Ukraine is now, on the contrary, fighting a drug problem.
“If we resolve this problem, we can go back to discussing this issue,” Zelensky said.
Around 40% of polled Ukrainians back the initiative of legalizing gambling in the country in general, almost half of them believe that lotteries should be permitted, according to a poll conducted by the Rating sociological group late September.
According to the results of the survey, 11% of respondents believe that gambling should be legalized in Ukraine without any restrictions, 27% support legalization, but subject to the creation of special zones for gambling. At the same time, almost 60% do not support legalization under any circumstances.
Almost half of the respondents believed that lotteries should be allowed in Ukraine, a quarter – bets in bookmakers and casinos. The worst attitude is towards the legalization of online casinos (12%), slot machines (12%), and playing cards for money (11%).
Some 25% of respondents rate themselves as people with gambling addictions, while the majority (73%) do not consider themselves having with gambling addictions. More people with gambling addictions are men, youth, and people with higher incomes.
The survey was conducted on September 27-30. Audience is Ukrainian population 18 years and older. The sample is representative by age, gender, region, and type of settlement. A total of 2,000 respondents were interviewed (face-to-face). The representativeness error of the study is no more than 2.2%.
The draft law on legalization of gambling, which is being discussed within the framework of the working group of the Verkhovna Rada, after its adoption could give a significant impetus to the development of five-star hotels and encourage investors to open new facilities in this segment, Managing Partner of ArtBuild Hotel Group Oleksiy Yevchenko believes.
“A significant impetus to the development of hotel business will be provided by the adoption of the law on gambling, which will regulate the placement of casinos in five-star hotels for a certain number of rooms depending on the region. Hotels for casinos could appear both in large cities and in smaller towns, causing the active development and growth of a certain region,” he said at the conference “Hotel Real Estate in Ukraine: Development Prospects.”
According to the expert, the bill has a chance to be adopted before the end of 2019 or at the beginning of 2020. According to the document, casinos will be placed in five-star hotels with over 200 rooms in Kyiv, and over 120 rooms in Kharkiv, Lviv, Dnipro and Odesa, and from 100 rooms in all other cities.
“This will only spur the development of the five-star segment. The question is whether we have the key targeted audience here and whether there are enough tourists to fill this particular segment. In Kyiv, the occupancy of five-star hotels is on average 38%. And if another five to ten objects are built, as there are already real investors interested in this, with the number of rooms exceeding 200, with large places for organizing casinos, what will happen to the economy of these hotels?” the expert said.
He said the draft law under consideration provides for a mandatory requirement for hotels: the availability of 500 square meters of free space for a casino.
“Out of about 70 five-star hotels in Ukraine, only eight to ten hotels have such a large free space. Therefore, it is very important how the bill is adopted,” the expert stated.