Ukraine blocks hundreds of illegal online casinos

6 March, 12:32 PM
Ukraine blocks hundreds of illegal online casinos (Photo:PokerStars)

Ukraine blocks hundreds of illegal online casinos (Photo:PokerStars)

The National Commission for the State Regulation of electronic communications, or NCEC, has blocked more than 700 illegal gambling websites, the agency reported on March 1.

The list includes many Russian and international online casinos, in particular the world’s largest online poker platform, as well as 1Xbet, MelBet, FonBet, FanSport, Joker, BetWinner, etc.

Earlier representatives of the Ukrainian Gambling Council and Ukraine’s SBU security service said that illegal operators were behind about 70% of the gambling market in the country.

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For this reason, last year the state budget could lose about UAH 12 billion ($328.1 million) in the form of taxes and license fees from legal gambling companies.

Despite the large number of shadow facilities, the Cabinet of Ministers has recently deprived licensed brands of the right to defer tax payments and obliged all land-based gambling operators to pay their arrears for the previous and next year within 30 days.

“Companies that invested in the legal land segment have not even begun to recoup their investment, and today they must close down,” said Mykola Melnyk, the head of the Ukrainian Gambling & Betting Association.

“And it’s very painful that the changes initiated by the Cabinet of Ministers will, unfortunately, affect investments, which are already very difficult to bring to the Ukrainian market.”

Experts have concerns that most legal offline gambling operators in Ukraine will have to shut down due to the government decision, thereby depriving thousands of people of their jobs.

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