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Ukraine blocks 371 illegal gaming sites

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The Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries in Ukraine (KRAIL), the gambling regulator in the country, has banned 371 websites that offer illegal gambling.

These restrictions are the result of a joint effort between KRAIL, and Ukraine’s Security Service. Order No. Order No. 451/2256 has been issued for the blocking of domain names illegal gambling websites.

This order prohibits the electronic communication services providers from blocking websites that use their Domain Name System servers (DNS).

After a collaboration between KRAIL, the Security Service and KRAIL, more than 1,000 orders to restrict access to subdomains and domain names on DNS servers were issued in April and May.

KRAIL future uncertain

KRAIL took action against illegal gambling sites amid uncertainty about how long the regulator would be responsible for regulating gambling in Ukraine.

In April, the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine’s Parliament) voted to liquidate KRAIL. After more than a year’s opposition to the way gambling in Ukraine is regulated, KRAIL was liquidated. This opposition was a result of frustration with KRAIL’s inability to perform regulatory tasks, like issuing licenses.

KRAIL is a colllegial group consisting of six members and a chairperson. Meetings are only valid when five members attend. Some commission members were mobilised for military service after Russia invaded Ukraine. This led to lengthy delays in the processing of licences.

The bill also included other measures to control gambling, such as increasing the restrictions on advertising.

Now the bill is going to be read a second time. If the bill passes, it will become law after being signed by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The digital transformation ministry will be responsible for gambling regulation if KRAIL dissolves. Alina Plyushch – a partner in the Kyiv law firm Sayenko Kharcenko – told iGB it was unclear for how long this ministry will retain these powers.

Plyushch stated that “this is subject to a future government decision regarding the creation of a regulator within the Digital Transformation Ministry’s umbrella”.

Another possibility would be that the Digital Transformation Ministry retains the regulatory functions for the industry.

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