Ukraine is hoping to win big after liberalising its gambling market Emil Filtenborg and Stefan Weichert, Euro News · September 19, 2021 at 3:36 pm Football fans had gathered at a gambling hall in the Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk to watch the 2009 Champions League semi-final between Barcelona and Chelsea. But their evening turned to tragedy when a fire began in one of the dozens of slot machines installed in the arcade. A lack of fire exits meant people struggled to escape the flames. Nine people were killed and a further 11 injured. It sparked fundamental change: MPs banned casinos, halls with slot machines, bookmaking shops and internet gambling. Yet fast forward 12 years and the industry is back. In the year since the sector was liberalised, the government has issued 40 licences.