The permit is issuable to the owner of premises, and not to the lessee or operator.
The owner of premises can operate them independently or provide into use upon permit issuance. The regulation is drafted in a way that the transfer of premises into gambling use occurs upon issuance of premises compliance permit to the owner. Although the possibility of premises designated for gambling being already in lease before application filing by the owner is not obvious, one may conclude it is reasonably permitted as per general principles of commercial arrangements. The decisive factor shall be not the date of lease conclusion, i.e. before or after compliance permit issuance, but the fact that premises shall not be operated for gambling by lessee prior to receiving permit by the owner.
The permit is issued for single premises, meaning that the same owner requires multiple permits, if the operations are conducted in different locations or different premises at one location.
Each of the bookmaker slot and gambling machines hall must be always located in single premises, i.e. if the bookmaker slot or gambling machines hall occupy several connected premises, they shall be treated as multiple separate bookmaker slots and gambling machines halls. At the same time, the casino can be based in several premises under the same address, obtain multiple premises compliance permits for each of such premises, but will nevertheless be viewed as one casino.
The application for permit issuance shall be accompanied by the title documents to premises, certificate on assignment of category to the hotel, where the premises are located, and technical passport of premises.
The list of documents is exhaustive. While the regulations require to submit certificate on assignment of category to hotel, this document cannot be logically submitted by an owner of bookmaker slot placed at hippodrome.
Issuance of permit is performed within 5 calendar days of application, procedure does not provide for a possibility of timeline extension by the Gambling Commission, although the application can be declined if the application is incomplete, filed with procedural mistakes, which will require resubmission of the application, or premises, their location do not comply with regulations. Reviewing the documents can be performed remotely in the Gambling Commission’s office without physical inspection of the premises, especially if they are located in the regions of Ukraine.
The permit is issued for an indefinite period of time and renewal of premises compliance permit or its revocation is not envisaged.
The difficulties may arise, e.g., if the gambling hall is legitimately opened in an area properly distanced from school, and the school is opened afterwards in close proximity to such gambling hall. While this specific case is not addressed in regulations, at least 3 possibilities exist:
(i) gambling hall can continue to exist, as the 500 meters restriction is only applicable and shall be checked at the time of gambling hall opening, the gambling hall owner shall not bear the operational and business closure risk of subsequent school opening in the region;
(ii) the gambling hall shall be closed; and
(iii) the school cannot be opened in 500 meters distance, if the gambling hall legitimately exists and has all required licenses and permits, and shall be placed in different, more remote location. If the school was nevertheless opened with violation of 500 meters distance, it must be transferred to a different location, as the gambling hall operator started its legitimate operations earlier and, therefore, has priority.
The regulations so far do not establish any application fee payable for permit issuance, meaning that the application consideration shall be free of charge unless and until the decision to the contrary is adopted by the Gambling Commission and application fee introduced.
Information on issued permits and premises validated for gambling shall be publicized by the Gambling Commission for review through web-site.
Tetiana Tyshchenko (Partner at Asters, member of the Expert Advisory Council of the Gambling and Lotteries Regulation Commission in Ukraine)
Oleksiy Demyanenko (Partner at Asters law firm)
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