Gambling business in Ukraine


Ukraine is a European state in which active work is underway to legalize the gambling business. In 2009, the Ukrainian authorities decided to ban gambling. The fallacy of this initiative became obvious already in the first months after the law came into force: an underground gambling business began to actively develop in the country, due to which the state budget suffered significant losses. There was no positive impact on the dynamics of the development of gambling addiction, and gamblers were forced to move to illegal establishments, after which they lost any guarantees of fair play.

List of online casinos in Ukraine – 2021

  • Slotoking
  • Riobet
  • 777 Original
  • Casino-X
  • Joycasino
  • Netgame
  • Vulkan
  • Admiral
  • Million
  • Jackpot

The talks about the need to return legal status to gambling have been going on for at least 5 years. Ukrainian politicians regularly come up with such initiatives. At present, a bill has been developed, according to which the gambling business will be legalized again and strictly regulated.

Gambling legislation of Ukraine

The main normative act regulating gambling on the territory of the state is now the 2009 Law On the Prohibition of Gambling Business in Ukraine. According to this document, any kind of gambling entertainment was banned. The law does not classify the following varieties as such:

  • lotteries;
  • games on machines of the “crane-machine” type with winnings not given out in money;
  • free entertaining sweepstakes;
  • games that do not involve material reward.

For business entities noticed in the organization of gambling, liability is provided – a fine in the amount of 8,000 minimum wages with confiscation of equipment and all income received.

The ban on gambling in land-based establishments led to an increase in the popularity of online casinos, which was not mentioned in the initial version of the law. In 2011, amendments were adopted, according to which electronic simulators, virtual bookmakers and online casinos were also banned, regardless of the physical location of the servers. The implementation of this law is monitored by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. For players in Ukraine, administrative responsibility is provided for participating in gambling. The most severe punishment that a gambler can expect is a fine of 425 UAH.

At the time of the ban, the gambling industry in Ukraine was well developed. More than 10,000 land-based establishments officially operated in the country, employing about 200,000 people. In 2008, the state budget received almost UAH 600,000,000 from casino activities.

Gambling business licensing in Ukraine

One of the factors that the supporters of the gambling ban in Ukraine appealed to was the imperfect licensing mechanism. Because of him, in fact, some organizations received a license, while others worked. At the time of the ban, about 200 enterprises had permits to organize gambling, and more than 4,000 companies operated. The scheme was as follows:

  1. The licensee received the appropriate permission from the Ministry of Finance and local authorities;
  2. With an insufficient level of income from the functioning of their own establishments, the license holder formed a partner network, providing an opportunity to work for third-party organizations.

It is expected that the draft law, which is currently being considered, will be free from shortcomings, and the licensing procedure will not leave room for such maneuvers.

At the time of the ban, the license was issued to organize the work of gambling establishments and sweepstakes, without a detailed division into various types of gambling. There was no procedure for licensing online casinos in the legislative framework.

Online gambling in Ukraine

In accordance with the amendments made to the Law on the Prohibition of Gambling Business in 2011, online casinos currently do not have a legal status in Ukraine. Even a cursory study of the statistics of traffic on online resources in the Ukrainian segment of the Internet is enough to make sure that the ban does not stop users from visiting gambling sites.

Formally, online casinos are subject to blocking for Ukrainian users. In fact, players have the opportunity to provide themselves with access to almost any resource in this format. An exception is some international online gambling operators, which themselves restrict the participation of users from Ukraine in gambling.

Popular slot machines

In most online casinos used by players from Ukraine, Book of Ra from the manufacturer Greentube is at the top of the rating of popular slot machines. For many years, this slot has been one of the most beloved developments for Eastern European gamblers.

Another favorite of Ukrainian gambling fans is the Fruit Cocktail slot machine, created by the Russian company Igrosoft. The slot gained fame, among other things, because it was available in land-based gambling halls even before the ban on gambling in Ukraine.

The Aztec Gold slot machine is also very popular among Ukrainians. Like the previous game, it was widely featured in gambling halls and land-based casinos. According to unofficial information, this slot from Casino Technology can still be found in underground casinos.

Among other developments popular with players from Ukraine, there are the following machines:

  • Lucky Lady’s Charm (Greentube);
  • Gonzo’s Quest (NetEnt);
  • Resident (Igrosoft);
  • Sizzling Hot (Greentube);
  • Starburst (NetEnt).

Gambling software manufacturers

One of the most popular among Ukrainian development companies is SGS Universal. Officially, the manufacturer began its activity in 2009, but the developers themselves position themselves as a company with 30 years of experience. More than 100 slot machines have been developed under the SGS Universal brand. The games are created using HTML5 technology.

The following slots are especially popular in the SGS portfolio:

  • Arabian Nights;
  • Cabaret;
  • Dembel;
  • Fun Zoo;
  • Russian Tales;
  • Wheels of Fire.

The company has representative offices in the USA, Switzerland and the UK.

Representative offices of many other manufacturers are based in Ukraine, including:

  • NetEnt;
  • WinADay;
  • Belatra;
  • Drive Media.

Development prospects

In 2014, an association agreement was signed between Ukraine and the European Union. This agreement is aimed at deepening integration in various spheres of politics, trade and culture. It is logical to assume that one of the aspects that will be affected by the rapprochement of Ukraine with the EU will also be the gambling sector. This is due to two features.

Firstly, since the introduction of the visa-free regime, trips to European regions with loyal gambling legislation have become popular among Ukrainian tourists. Special thematic gambling tours were previously present in the assortment of Ukrainian tour operators. After the introduction of a visa-free regime, the number of tourists traveling to European countries with similar goals has grown significantly. Legalization of gambling from this point of view would allow Ukraine to achieve a significant inflow of funds into the state budget and prevent their leakage abroad.

Secondly, the European Union has clear regulations for the organization of gambling and a number of requirements for ensuring access to goods and services legal in the EU. Upon joining the European Union, the Ukrainian authorities will in any case be obliged to adapt to the requirements of the commission.

The fact that Ukrainian gambling with a high degree of probability will again receive legal status is eloquently indicated by the latest speeches of high-ranking officials. Thus, the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko stated that the legalization of gambling is necessary provided that specialized gambling zones are organized. Finance Minister Oleksandr Danilyuk, Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groisman and many other influential Ukrainian politicians made similar theses.

Summing up, we can say that the existing restrictions on gambling in Ukraine do not solve the initially pursued goals – gambling fans in any case find a way to get access to their favorite entertainment.

Gambling business in Ukraine

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