Ukraine blocks access to international online operators


In Ukraine’s effort to move towards regulated, online gambling, they’ve clued in that the best way to beat the competition is to shut off access to them. On February 21, the National Commission for State Regulation of Communications and Informatization (NKRZI), telecom regulator for Ukraine, asked internet service providers (ISPs) to block 32 online gambling websites.

ukraine-blocks-access-to-international-online-operatorsThis stems from a ruling by Judge Oksana Hardina of the Shevchenkovskiy District Court of Kyiv. The ruling gave telecom regulators the power to block websites offering content considered illegal locally. Following that ruling, the Chief Investigative Directorate of the Security Service of Ukraine ordered this new tactic on February 13, and the NKRZI got around to letting ISPs know publically with this announcement.

The 32 websites ISPs are now expected to block include some very well known sites. PartyPoker and Pinnacle made the list, as well as CloudBet, FastPay Casino, Yukon Gold, Golden Tiger Casino and BetChain.

Although perhaps unlikely to happen, the notice made clear that there is room to appeal the decision. “Within five days from the date of its announcement, an appeal may be filed against the decision of the investigating judge directly to the Kyiv Court of Appeal,” it notes. Otherwise, the ISPs were expected to shutter access to these sites immediately.

This comes just a few weeks after the Cyber Police of Ukraine went after sites putting up a front as “legitimate IT development” businesses. These operations were accused of having a monthly income of approximately $1 million, with customers around the world.

In January, Ukraine’s legislature passed a bill that puts in place a lot of the necessary regulations for a locally regulated online gambling industry. License fees were established for different verticals, but no taxation information was cemented.

Clearly though, as much as Ukraine wants to get it’s gambling situation sorted out, they are putting just as much emphasis on shutting out internationally licensed operators than they are building up their own.