Ukraine blocks 596 illegal gambling sites | KRAIL maintains high standards

Senior Reporter

It’s been almost a year since Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, signed the country’s 2020 Gambling Act into law. Since then, operators that wished to run brick-and-mortar casinos, online casinos, betting shops (in-person and online), slot-machine parlors, and online poker games, got a green light to offer their services within the country as long as they met the necessary requirements. Unfortunately, a good portion of operators swept the rules under the rug and carried on with illegal operations. Failure to comply resulted in hundreds of online casinos being blocked. 

Ukraine blocks 596 illegal gambling sites | KRAIL maintains high standards
Ukraine view. Image: pixabay.com

Running a gambling business without a license is illegal in Ukraine, and doing so will not fly under the radar as easily as it would in some other countries. As many as 596 online casino operators learned this lesson the hard way as the recent court rulings ended up blocking the illegal online gambling platforms. This decision also prompted an investigation by a national regulatory body, the Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (KRAIL). 

The blocked sites were found to be operating in contravention of article 203-2 of the National Criminal Code. It’s safe to say that the now-blocked online casinos had all the needed information to be aware of the consequences illegal operations would have - KRAIL regulations have been up for months. Not to mention, the initial bill legalizing gambling in Ukraine described the requirements for general casino operations in clear detail. Regardless, hundreds chose to break the law and are now added to a list of 1,000+ sites that lost their privilege to offer services to players in the country. 

Later this July, KRAIL published a set of responsible gambling regulations that included new restrictions on bonus offers for existing players. This particular change now makes it illegal for online casinos to offer promotions based on players’ losing streaks. Many online operators targeted players who got caught up in a set of unlucky betting losses and would conveniently offer bonuses in order to keep them playing. 

Sure enough, the losing streak bonuses kept the cash flowing for the operators but resulted in serious debts and growing gambling problems on the opposite side of the rope. Bonus advertisements are the reason many players simply cannot pass up that “one last bet”. Additionally, KRAIL now requires operators to take down any illegal gambling advertisements and threaten persecution to those who fail to comply. Perhaps these new regulations will serve as an effective way to cut down on gambling-related problems among casino lovers. 

Fortunately, those who are struggling with said issues now have an opportunity to register for fixed periods of between six months and three years of self-exclusion from gambling. This system will keep individuals from participating in gambling activities, as they will not be allowed in casinos (or online sites) during the select period. Family members and court rulings will also have a say in the imposed ban on Gamblers, being that they are able to provide proof such as heavy debts, failure to pay child support, etc.. This alone explains the need for harsher prosecutions of operators who fail to check IDs of those potentially undergoing the ban. 

It’s not just online operators that are ducking the regulations. Since last year, 100 land-based gambling facilities were forced to close down for violating gambling laws in the country. Along with that, an investigation conducted by KRAIL led to the discovery of illegal gaming machines and computer equipment, all of which were seized. It’s obvious that the gambling commission of Ukraine is not planning on loosening its grip on any of the regulations, and is continuously furbishing the newly-introduced industry.  

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