The Ukraine is one of the few European countries where almost all forms of gambling (online or otherwise) are typically deemed illegal. There are a few exceptions and a couple of grey zones, and this can make things confusing for Ukrainians. It also presents them with a bit of a loophole if they know how to go around such regulations. First, though, it is important to understand the basics of the Ukrainian gambling laws. That is something we will provide you with here on this page, so let’s get started.
Is Online Gambling Legal in Ukraine?
For the most part, all forms of gambling are illegal in the Eastern European country. There are exceptions, though. Lottery games are considered legal, but only national ones and those regulated by the Ministry of Finance.
There is one other grey area which is worth exploring. Online poker games are technically considered legal in the country. Again, this required them to be regulated by the Ministry of Finance, and there aren’t too many venues online which are. In the case of online poker, the game was granted an exception from the Prohibition of Gambling Business in Ukraine law of 2009, much like lotteries.
The law has since changed (in 2018), which formally saw online poker rooms legalised. However, the definition of what a poker room is, and what it can contain appears nowhere in the legislation. Online casinos and slot games may be illegal, but would they still be so if they appear at a poker room. Where does video poker fall into the equation? These, as you can imagine, are currently loopholes and grey zones worth exploring.
Ukrainian Online Casinos
Ukraine does have one or two legal betting sites, but they are not online casinos. The Eastern European country has run the rule over online lottery and poker rooms and deemed them to be legal if they are licensed and regulated by the Ministry of Finance. There are precious few lottery sites around, and there doesn’t appear to be any legal poker rooms which fit the bill which are actively based in the country. Naturally, this means that players will turn to offshore betting sites to get their dose of action.
Offshore Casino Sites for Ukrainian Players
All offshore sites (no matter what they provide) are deemed illegal. DFS and bingo betting, for instance, are unregulated, which technically makes them neither legal nor illegal. Online casino games are illegal, and not offshore domains are in possession of a license. Ukraine has (at times) implemented blanket bans on foreign casinos, although it isn’t very hands-on with this, no doubt wanted to stand apart from its larger Eastern neighbour, who is notorious for cracking down on what its citizens can and cannot access online.
Many offshore casinos will cater to Ukrainian players, and a good chunk of those tend to do so in Ukrainian. The Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH) is accepted at many of these sites, and they may go out of their way to try and provide Ukrainians with support and games they are ideally suited to them.
Is Anything Likely to Change in the Future?
Ukraine is a very difficult country to read. Politically, the country finds itself swinging between the East and West. Its neighbours (on all sides) have very different views on gambling, and in particular, online gambling. Ukraine, therefore, swings to the European Union side on some laws, while some of its others are very much akin to those found in Russia. All we can do is guestimate what the next likely step (if any) will be.
We can rule out any significant changes to legalise gambling soon. If Ukraine was to find itself in the European Union in the feature, the country would surely have to start opening its borders to online gambling enterprises, as several other recent members have done. If the state were to swing more towards Russia, there could even be a tightening of the gambling laws as they currently exist.
However, without any real certainty, you understand, Ukraine is likely to stick to the model it has for the foreseeable future. While it is not the best system, it does seem to work for the country.
Top Ukrainian Casino Sites
While you may be disappointed to learn that Ukraine does not officially license any online casinos, you will be happy to hear that you can still bet online. On this page, you will find many top Ukrainian online casinos. All are, of course, offshore and foreign casinos located elsewhere. However, they are not covered by Ukraine’s bans, and a decent VPN (virtual private network) will help you bypass and geo-blocks you come across. All these recommended casinos are certified as fair, secure and amongst the best in the business for Ukrainian players to play their favourite casino games at.