After claiming for months that it wouldn’t do so, Russia invaded Ukraine and violated its sovereignty more than a decade ago. Ukraine is attempting to block many Russian-operated offshore gambling sites as war losses mount.
Although unlicensed offshore sites are illegal, Ukraine has gone one step further to protect its gambling market and barred all access by Ukrainians to the incriminating websites. This was announced jointly by the Ukrainian Security Service and the local regulator in an effort to combat illegal gambling.
The country’s ban on Russian offshore gambling operators is a sign of both its intention to protect its legal gaming market and its unrelenting determination to drive Russia from its territory. Ukraine will funnel more players to the legal sector by blocking unlicensed websites.
The Ukrainian Gambling and Betting Association refused to let its members postpone their taxes for 2022, making it a more controversial decision. Operators must pay all owed taxes by April 2023. Companies are struggling to adapt, and failing to pay their financial obligations by April 2023 will result in a loss of business.
The West has strongly condemned the Russian invasion. Russian tech companies were even banned from attending the CES 2023 in Las Vegas, January.
Ukraine wanted to expand its industry before the war
In 2020, Ukraine legalized online gaming. According to local regulations, all companies must apply for an online gambling license from the Ukrainian Commission for the Regulation of Gambling. All licensees must also adhere to the local regulations, as you might expect.
The rules state, however, that no license can be granted to a Russian-owned company or individual. Licensees must not have shares in any Russian company, or shareholders from a FATF-graylisted nation. A company must meet all requirements to obtain a license. It will need to pay $1.3million.
Ukraine legalized land-based casino in 2020. The country has only one operational casino currently, and that is the Billionaire’s Casino located at InterContinental Hotel Kyiv.
The COVID-19 pandemic in Ukraine and the subsequent war have had a significant impact on Ukraine’s potential for gambling. Although there are still efforts being made to modernize and expand local gaming, it will be a while before all the damage is repaired.