More illegal gambling venues raided in Ukraine

Authorities continue to crack down on unlicensed gambling in Ukraine.
Authorities continue to crack down on unlicensed gambling in Ukraine.

Detectives have raided 16 venues after an operation earlier this month.

Ukraine.- The Bureau of Economic Security (ESBU) has conducted further raids on illegal casinos in the capital Kyiv. Police believe the venues were all part of one network.

Officers say the venues offered electronic casino gambling, including slots and roulette, without the necessary licences or permits. They confiscated computer monitors, televisions, mobile phones and other equipment during searches in several districts. The value of the property seized has been estimated at UAH4m (€100,000).

The operation involved the Territorial Department of the Security Intelligence Service and the national police force. Police were said to be drawing up a list of the suspects involved and conducting a pre-trial investigation under Part 1 of Art. 203-2 of the Criminal Code, which pertains to the illegal organisation of gambling and lotteries. The Kyiv City Prosecutors Office is guiding the investigation.

The latest raids come after earlier this month, the ESBU announced that it had shut down four illegal land-based gambling venues in Kyiv. Detectives from the bureau’s territorial administration raided venues in the Shevchenkivskyi, Solomyanskyi and Svyatoshynskyi districts.

The action followed police raids on an underground casino and seven gambling venues in June. Ukraine’s current gambling legislation, introduced in 2020, allows slot machines only in three to five-star hotels and casinos only in four to five-star hotels. In the first half of 2023, the ESBU estimated activities from underground gambling houses cost the state budget over UAH30m in lost revenue

Earlier this month, the Ukrainian parliament reintroduced an 18 per cent tax on the turnover of online casino operators. The government expects the move to generate at least UAH 1.5bn ($41m) a year in fiscal revenue.

In other developments, new anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CTF) legislation has come into effect in Ukraine, including new rules for inspections of gambling operators. Operators can be subject to both planned and unplanned inspections by KRAIL.

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gambling regulation Land-based casinos