Monday, June 24, 2024

Ukraine blocks 2,500 illegal gambling sites

Must read

Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office, in conjunction with law enforcement, has blocked 2,500 websites that hosted unlicensed gambling content.

The prosecutor general’s office released figures detailing its work to block illegal gambling over 2023 and 2024 so far.

It reported that as of April 2024, over 450 alleged illegal gambling offences are being investigated. Indictments against 72 people have been sent to court, with seven of these charges relating to 68 members of criminal gangs. For 2024 so far, 76 criminal offences have been registered.

In 2023 alone, the prosecutor general’s office said 169 illegal gambling offences were registered. A total of 52 indictments against 97 people were sent to court. More than 7,000 pieces of equipment, including computers, were seized during the year, with around 500 searches carried out.

A total of 700 addresses were investigated for illegal gambling activity in 2023 and ten casinos had their activities suspended. Ten charges against 42 members of criminal gangs were also brought before a court.

Ongoing investigations

The prosecutor general’s office also addressed a pre-trial investigation that is currently taking place into an unnamed sanctioned legal entity. Allegedly, this entity conducted illegal gambling activities based on the resources of an international operator’s office. At the time, the entity was said to be under the control of citizens of the Russian Federation.

Currently, prosecutors are also giving guidance on proceedings against companies accused of operating illegal online casinos. In one example, guidance is being given in a case addressing the legalisation of funds from illegal online gambling, totalling UAH4.8bn (£96.9m/€113.0m/$120.9m).

The prosecutor general’s office released the latest illegal gambling figures days after Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, voted to dissolve the country’s gambling regulator KRAIL. The vote took place on 24 April following a submission of a bill entitled Draft Law No 9256, which proposed the removal of KRAIL. In total, 272 lawmakers backed the move.

The bill was originally submitted by Deputy Prime Minister Fedorov in 2023. It must now pass a second reading and be signed off by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy before becoming law.

Other aspects of the bill aim to restrict gambling further in Ukraine. New safeguarding tools for those vulnerable to gambling harm are proposed, as well as a ban on ads.

Latest article