The online gambling market continues to grow and more countries are joining the movement to legalise online gambling. In 2020, Ukraine became one of the latest to join the movement. Ukraine legalised online casinos as long as strict requirements are met. New changes in the law require online casinos to hold a Ukrainian licence. If the Gambling and Lotteries Regulation Commission doesn’t licence a site, it can’t accept any Ukrainian players.
The market is open to both foreign and local investors for the first time in 10 years. Therefore, it’s no surprise the Ukrainian igaming market has boomed. There are 11 gaming licences, divided into three categories: Game, Premise and Auxiliary Licences. The different licences mean if you’re setting up a land-based casino, you need both a game and premise licence, among others. With online gaming, it’s slightly easier, but there’s still a separate licence for online casinos vs online poker.
To obtain a legal gaming licence, you need start-up capital of approximately €1 million and fulfil all regulator requirements. These requirements include being a Ukrainian resident company, licensed software, a .ua online domain, and more. The licence is valid for five years, a reasonable time to recover the start-up capital invested in opening the casino.
Implementing legislation to legalise gambling in the country isn’t the only action Ukraine took. It also embraced cryptocurrencies in its market. Cryptocurrencies were first mentioned to be made “legal” in 2020. This process was finalised in 2021. This significantly helped boost the gambling sector as crypto gambling became more popular worldwide.
In 2021, Chainalysis did a global index to see which countries use cryptocurrency the most. This crypto research group found Ukraine was fourth on the global list, showing a whole-hearted embrace of cryptos. Crypto was not just big in the gambling market; companies and individuals could also declare their income in crypto.
Ukraine aims to become one of the biggest crypto markets in the world. The government made it easy to purchase, declare and invest in cryptocurrency. It also eased the way for online crypto casinos, offering another level at which players can use an online casino.
This crypto market has only grown in Ukraine, contrary to the gambling market. With the recent invasion of Russia, cryptocurrencies have become more critical than ever. Ukraine has opened their channels to crypto donations since the start of this war. They’ve currently received upwards of $100 million in USD donations. Many of these donations are coming from established gaming companies. Well-known names include Stake, Microgaming, Betsson Group, and more.
If you want to understand how gambling became what it is today in Ukraine, then we first need to look at what it was in Ukraine. Before 2009, gambling was largely unregulated in the country. However, it wasn’t illegal to gamble, but it was risky. With no regulations in place, there was nothing stopping gambling hubs from becoming extremely corrupt. These establishments were also negligent in their safety procedures. It wasn’t uncommon to experience a higher level of violence and safety risks.
One such instance in 2009 sparked the change to ban gambling. In Dnipro, a fire occurred at the Metro JackPot gambling hall, with 10 people passing away. It wasn’t long after that the Ukrainian government decided to ban gambling. The state-run lottery and offline, non-banking poker were the only exceptions to the gambling ban.
It was only in 2015 that a slow shift in attitude started showing, with the Ukrainian Gaming Congress held in the capital of Kyiv. In 2020, gambling was legalised by Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the new law called the On State Regulation of Organising and Conducting Gambling. It was in 2021 that the first gaming licences started being issued.
With the Russian-Ukraine war currently ongoing, it’s no surprise that casinos and poker rooms have been shut down. The overall Ukraine gambling market has taken a massive hit with recent events after being one of the fastest-growing markets globally. Many Ukrainian players have exited the igaming scene, as their attention is captured by more important matters.
However, that doesn’t mean the gambling industry is done in Ukraine just yet. While it’s become smaller, online gaming is technically still legal. You’ll also find many online casinos specifically catering to Ukrainian players. However, regulations are in place to start growing the market again as soon as the country’s stability is improved.
Like many other countries, slots remain the most popular game type for Ukrainian players. Slot games are extremely versatile, offering a range of themes, bonus features, game mechanics, and more. Slots require no skill to play and are suitable for both beginners and experienced players. No matter what type of game you’re in the mood for, there will likely be a slot game that can deliver.
Away from slots, Ukrainian players enjoy blackjack and online roulette, which is another fan favourite among players. Blackjack requires a bit more skill and understanding of the game. Players bet against the dealer and try to build a hand as close to 21 as possible without exceeding 21. Roulette, on the other hand, is one even a beginner can enjoy. A ball is dropped into the spinning roulette wheel after you place your bets on which slot the ball will land.
Live dealer games also enjoy popularity and are a great way to experience the feeling of gambling in a casino without visiting a land-based casino. Classics such as poker, baccarat, roulette and blackjack are some of the available titles. When land-based casinos are unavailable to players, this option is the best second choice and is available on many platforms.
One aspect of online casinos that is attractive to players is the bonuses and promotions available. New players can claim a crypto welcome bonus ranging from a matched deposit to a no-deposit bonus or free spins. There are also promotions for existing players, like crypto reload bonuses and VIP programs.
However, remember that all bonus offers have terms you need to fulfil before you can withdraw any winnings. These terms include wagering requirements, minimum deposits, eligible games, etc. As long as you remain aware of the terms, collecting your bonus and spinning the reels using a bonus offer is easy.