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Establishment of the legal gambling market begins with combating illegal businesses

Viktoriya Zakrevskaya, Deputy Chairman for Communications of the Ukrainian Gambling Council, commented on the results of the fight against the grey sector of the gambling business during the period from 2022 to 2023.

The expert expressed her opinion in the online publication.

From the very beginning of the operation of the legal gambling market in Ukraine in 2020, after a more than 11 years break, its civilized establishment and development has been resisted by those who are used to making money underground and do not want to leave the black market.

All this time, illegal businesses have been trying to use various mechanisms and methods in order to continue operation and avoid paying a single penny to the state budget.

To counteract this, the joint work of various institutions is required, namely the national regulator (Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries), law enforcement agencies, the NBU, banks and other financial institutions, representatives of legal gambling businesses, etc.

Why is the cooperation between government structures and business in the fight against illegal establishments so important? It is because the representatives of the grey sector quite actively disguise their activities as the work of legal companies. This practice has become especially widespread in the online gambling segment. Such interaction is required precisely for the clear identification of illegal web-sites and their advertising, as well as for blocking them.

Since the beginning of full-scale aggression, the situation with illegal businesses has only worsened. Most of the representatives of the black market have Russian roots and actually work in the interests of the aggressor country. During the period from 2022 to 2023, Ukrainian Gambling Council, the largest professional association of representatives of the legal gambling market, sent quite a few appeals to various government agencies regarding the closure of Russian brands in Ukraine. The reaction to these appeals was adequate and positive. In particular, it contributed to the detection and closure of illegal web-sites operating in Ukraine.

In general, according to the Chairman of the Commission for regulation of gambling and lotteries (CRGL), more than 700 illegal web-sites were closed as of March of this year. However, this was preceded by a lot of work on detection of underground businesses. Thus, in the process of monitoring, CRGL provided law enforcement agencies with information on the following:

· 1,789 websites with signs of organizing and holding gambling activities;

· 55 websites with signs of holding lottery activities;

· 606 locations of illegal gambling establishments, of which 369 are located in Kyiv and Kyiv region.

"Thanks to the work of the Temporary Investigation Committee in relation to the gambling business, the competent agencies have intensified their actions, and we see the first results based on our efforts: 709 sites have been closed. In addition, just last week, a number of illegal gambling halls were exposed in the territory of Ukraine," Ivan Rudy noted.

In the meantime, CRGL has already formed two packages of sanction lists of entities that are related to the Russian Federation. They are already in the final stages of processing.

In general, for a civilized white market to exist, it is necessary to beat illegal businesses, especially Russian ones, on a daily basis and systematically. There are already positive results in the online segment, the similar actions against illegal businesses in the land-based gambling segment are next in turn.


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