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Believe it or not, the way gambling is perceived around the world is generally a cultural thing. This probably comes as a surprise to the people who were raised in a country like the US, or the UK where gambling is seen as a fun pastime for anyone who is of legal age. But there are several countries around the world who prohibit gambling and teach their citizens that the practice is bad and even harmful to their health. One of the countries which has recently done a one eighty when it comes to their views on gambling is the country of Ukraine.
Gambling in Ukraine has been illegal in all forms since 2009. This ruling came during the aftermath of a fire at a gambling hall that killed 9 people. This law not only outlawed gambling of all forms, even poker, in person, but it also made it illegal to gamble online. The only form of gambling that was still legal under the new ruling was government run lotteries of course. The fact that the fire was blamed on gambling shows a bit about how gambling is received in the country of Ukraine. In the US, a similar fire would be blamed on a company or fire codes, but in the Ukraine, this fire was blamed directly on the activity of gambling.
The elite of Ukraine did not agree with this ruling, and in 2010, there was lots of pressure for Ukraine to legalize gambling in certain zones of the country, which they did, albeit begrudgingly. And for an individual to enter and to gamble in the casino, they must meet a certain dress code as well as adhere to a face scan. This was so the Ukraine government regime could track who was gambling and how much and supposedly know when someone has a problem. Secretly, the tracking was more for the government to monitor for money laundering. The only casinos allowed to open in these zones were those sponsored or owned directly by the Ukrainian government and poker was still banned in all forms.
Whether the government came under the pressure of citizens clamoring for additional gambling outlets, or if the government felt there was more money to be had had in gambling is unsure, but in 2020 a new law was signed into effect that would allow privately owned businesses to operate casinos right alongside the Ukrainian government. There are still numerous regulations though, such as the fact that these private companies cannot have stock that is held by people in Russia, nor can they have stockholders in blacklisted countries like Iran or North Korea, and there also was still no legal relief for the game of poker.
Unsurprisingly, this new regulation did little to change the gambling field in Ukraine, because there just aren’t that many private companies that meet the requirements that want to own a casino heavily overseen by the Ukrainian government. And under this ruling, online gaming was still illegal in the country of Ukraine.
On June 5th, 2021, the gambling world was thrown for a loop when it was announced that the Ukrainian government granted the company Vbet permission and permits to create an online gaming website that would run within the country of Ukraine. And their website plans to host a slew of traditional gambling games, as well as a lottery and poker, something which is still not legal to play in person within the country.
Vbet isn’t the only company which has supposedly been approved for online gaming in Ukraine, and supposedly Cosmolot and Perimatch are two other companies that will soon begin legal operations of online gambling within the country.
Even though the ban on gambling was enacted as recently as 2009, the country of Ukraine has always had a rocky relationship with gambling, which is one reason the ban was pushed for so hard in 2009. And even with the new companies being legally able to offer online gaming options, citizens are critical as to if they will use these outlets to gamble. And this could mean bad news for companies who are putting lots of money into the development of these online games.
The Ukrainian government has additionally released a statement that they believe it might be very difficult for them now to be able to monitor the legalities of different online gambling websites and have thus urged citizens to be careful with online gambling. And whenever a government releases a statement like this, it is likely that at least some citizens will listen and avoid the practice of gambling.
Vbet isn’t worried though, their CEO, Vigen Badalyan, believes that the fact that they offer online poker as well as gambling on local sports will be enough to bring the customers who wish to gamble in droves. Of course, their website Isn't open yet, so he doesn’t have any proof of concept to go off, but he is confident that there is a market for the product they are offering. Only time will tell.
If you don’t reside within the borders of Ukraine, this news release probably means little for you. The Vbet website doesn’t seem as if it is going to offer anything that can’t be attained on another online gambling website. And honestly, unless you want to support the Ukrainian government with your money, you are better off to gamble on another online website, like MintDice, that isn’t overseen by a possibly corrupt government. This will give you better chances at winning and more confidence in your bets. You also lower the chances that the site will be randomly closed due to unforeseen political issues.
But if you live within the borders of Ukraine, it’s time to rejoice because you can finally bet on sports and play poker without having to leave the country!