The Ukrainian government has recently shut down the domains of 59 international online gambling operators, despite the fact that the country’s efforts to regulate its online market remain futile.
More specifically, the Security Service of Ukraine (SSU) announced that it gathered material proving the illegal action of the aforementioned operators. Consequently, the courts were left with no choice but to order local ISPs to block their domains. The SSU also said that it will continue to pursue those who violate the country’s gambling laws.
It is worth noting though that the SSU did not specify the identities of the 59 illegal operators, however it stated that among them are the 20 most popular gambling brands in Ukraine. It is also worth mentioning that in February, the Ukrainian telecom regulator ordered the blocking of 32 gambling sites, including big international brands such as Pinnacle and PartyPoker.
Furthermore, the Cyber Police of Ukraine has recently announced that it arrested a 46-year-old man in Odessa who was running 3 illegal online casinos. He was also the mastermind behind a payment processing network that generated income of more than UAH1m per month. Although the police said that those three websites are now banned, it still remains unclear whether they are among the 59 that were mentioned above.
The last few years the local authorities have been trying hard to regulate the online market and issue licenses to Ukraine’s betting sites. A draft of the proposed gambling legislation was approved at first reading in January. Nonetheless, disagreements over tax rates and the minimum gambling age, plus as many as 3,500 amendments that were filed following that first reading, have dramatically slowed the whole regulation process.
Members of the local finance committee are about to start discussing the aforementioned amendments sometime during this month. The committee chair, Danil Getmantsev, said to the media that the proposed gambling legislation is one of the most demanding bills, due to the fact that there is a lot of lobbying, scandals and conflicts surrounding it. However, he remains optimistic and said that the finished bill will be eventually passed by the parliament sometime this year.