Ukrainian police dismantle illegal gambling venues in Kyiv

Ukraine re-legalised gambling in 2020.
Ukraine re-legalised gambling in 2020.

The Economic Security Bureau has raided eight locations.

Ukraine.- The new Economic Security Bureau of Ukraine (ESBU) has declared a major victory against illegal gambling after a raid on eight locations. It says it’s dismantled an illegal casino and seven other gambling venues in the city of Bila Tserkva in Kyiv Oblast. 

Detectives are reported to have seized around 100 computers and several poker tables as well as playing cards and chips, money transfer devices, documents and UAH 100,000 (€2,500) in cash. They say the venues operated behind closed doors, including in residential buildings and in kiosks, only opening for known customers who would communicate by phone. 

As well as breaching gambling law, the venues were found to be in breach of Ukraine’s martial law curfew, which runs from midnight until 5am as a result of Russia’s invasion of the country. The ESBU is conducting a pre-trial investigation alongside local police with an eye to prosecute under Article 203 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code, which deals with illegal gambling and lotteries.

Gambling regulation in Ukraine

Gambling was re-legalised in Ukraine in July 2020, including land-based casinos, online gambling poker and betting. Last month, the Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (KRAIL) reported success in reducing the number of illegal gambling sites targeting Ukraine. It says that of 1,895 sites identified, only 727 were still offering unlicensed gambling in the country.

The regulator said the reduction in unlicensed sites was the result of its work to tackle illegal gambling through cooperation with law enforcement agencies. When it detects unlicensed gambling operations, KRAIL passes its information to the Bureau of Economic Security, which advises the National Centre for Operational-Technical Management of Telecommunications Networks to block the offending domains.

See also: Ukrainian regulator wins case over Ibox Bank gambling licence

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gambling regulation Land-based casinos