Ukraine blocks 2,500 illegal casino sites

  • 2 min read
Ukraine blocks 2,500 illegal casino sites

Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office, in collaboration with law enforcement, has escalated its efforts to combat illegal gambling by announcing the blocking of 2,500 websites hosting unlicensed gambling content.

As per a report by the prosecutor general’s office, a significant crackdown is currently underway, with over 450 suspected illegal gambling cases under investigation as of April 2024. Charges have been brought against 72 individuals, including seven indictments involving 68 members of criminal groups, with indictments forwarded to court.

In 2023, the prosecutor general’s office recorded 169 instances of illegal gambling, leading to 52 indictments against 97 individuals. During the same period, authorities seized over 7,000 pieces of equipment, including computers, and conducted approximately 500 searches and 700 address reviews. Additionally, ten casinos were suspended, and charges were filed against 42 individuals associated with criminal groups.

Ongoing investigations are targeting a pre-trial investigation into an unnamed sanctioned legal entity suspected of engaging in illegal gambling activities in collaboration with an international operator’s office, allegedly under the control of Russian Federation citizens.

The prosecutor general’s office is also involved in guiding proceedings against companies accused of operating illegal online casinos, with a focus on cases involving the legalization of funds amounting to UAH4.8 billion ($120.9 million) from illicit online gambling activities.

This crackdown coincides with recent legislative actions by Ukraine’s parliament, Verkhovna Rada, including the decision to dissolve the country’s gambling regulator KRAIL. On April 24, 272 lawmakers voted in favor of a bill proposing the removal of KRAIL. Draft Law No 9256, which includes additional measures such as new safeguarding tools for vulnerable individuals and a ban on advertisements, is pending a second reading and presidential approval to become law.