Gambling is a hugely popular pastime in Ukraine, especially when it comes to games of chance, such as video slots, table games, and playing at Ukrainian live casinos. Casino gambling used to exist in a legal grey area (more details on this later), with some activities officially sanctioned by the government and others criminalized by Ukrainian law but still flouted by many citizens within the country. Yet, things changed for the better in 2020 when Ukraine legalized both online and offline casinos. We’ll cover all of this and more within this guide to online casinos in Ukraine, including where you can claim welcome bonuses, free spins, and other deals at Ukrainian casinos should you wish to proceed with registering an account from outside of the country.
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Ever since 2020, online and offline casinos have been legalized in Ukraine. In fact, the country has issued 40 licenses to various operators like Favbet and Vbet. Still, there's also a growing number of international online casinos that are accepting players from the country, albeit at the player’s own risk should they get caught. Therefore, it’s always worth checking in advance if a site prevents players from certain countries ahead of signing up. From there, you’ll find that GoodLuckMate’s casino reviews are packed with details on welcome bonuses, significant terms and conditions relating to bonuses and/or free spins, the payment methods available for both deposits and withdrawals, plus your options for contacting customer support. And, as we’re all huge casino games enthusiasts ourselves, you’ll get all the juicy details on the kind of video slots, progressive jackpots, table games, poker titles, and more there, too. Before signing up, ensure that you have followed this short checklist:
If you still want to proceed at your own risk, be sure to click or tap the GoodLuckMate welcome bonus banners on each review to grab yourself the latest and greatest deals.
Gambling was officially banned under Ukrainian law in 2009 after a fatal fire in a Dnipropetrovsk casino killed nine people. At the time, the Law On Prohibition of Gambling Business in Ukraine (Gambling Ban Law) was passed by parliament and came into immediate effect two days later. Since then, however, certain gambling activities have been sanctioned by the government under a new Draft Law from 2010 until 2020, which also led to the creation of the National Gambling Operator regulatory body that has the power to issue licenses to third party companies.
Under the Draft Law, gaming zones were also set up, poker was officially legalized by being recognized as a sport, and seven-year licenses were created for private gambling operators – although the cost of the latter amounted to millions of euros, which made it fairly restrictive. Lotteries were also given the green light under previous laws that still stand today, so they are not considered gambling.
However, online casinos remained illegal due to the government’s concerns over vulnerable people being able to access such sites easily. As many European countries opened to legal gambling and profited nicely, Ukrainian lawmakers started considering the idea too. This culminated in 2020 when new regulations liberated the Ukrainian gambling market. A total of 40 licenses for online and offline operations have already been issued and the country expects profits of about €160 million per year from this sector.
While gambling sites are now allowed in Ukraine, there are still a small number of international brands that also offer their sites in the Ukrainian language should you wish to play from another country. You will also find a few customer support agents that speak Ukrainian, as well as a handful of live casino tables available in the language.
However, it is very rare to find an online casino site that accepts deposits and withdrawals in Ukrainian hryvnia (unless it's an operator licensed in Ukraine), so you will more than likely have to use an alternative form of currency such as the euro, Russian rouble or the US dollar instead.
Gambling at land-based casinos is perfectly legal with the newly introduced regulations. There are strict rules what operators can obtain a license to offer gambling both offline and online. For instance, an applicant for a land-based casino license must be a 4-star or a 5-star hotel with at least 100 rooms. There are also rules concerning slot machine halls as well as betting shops.
All this means that it’s perfectly possible to play slots and table games at land-based casinos in all of the major cities, including the capital Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, and Odesa. There are certain rules that must be obeyed, however. These include adhering to strict dress codes and so-called face control – the latter essentially being a bouncer’s judgment call about whether you are the right type of clientele regarding your looks, style, and supposed wealth. With the new regulations, moreover, there are also stricter age-verification procedures that ensure no underage gambling takes place at these Ukranian casino facilities.
A gambling license is intended to protect players, and one of its main functions is to provide a mechanism for resolving disputes when they come up. If you have a dispute with a casino, and the casino is being unreasonable, the gambling authority will help you. For many licenses, this means you can contact the gambling authority to get help processing your withdrawals, claiming money the casino has debited from your account, or resolving other disputes that might arise. The likelihood that the gambling authority will help you in ways that are effective, however, depends on the procedures they have in place for this. This is yet another reason why choosing to play at a casino that has a safe license is important.
Getting help directly from the gambling authority is not always necessary, or even an option. A lot of regulators have now enforced third-party dispute resolution. This means casinos must have an agreement with an arbitrator who will look into disputes on the behalf of players from a particular casino. This ensures your dispute will be reviewed by an objective third party. All trusted online casinos have information about arbitration on their websites if they use this option, or they’ll have the contact information for the gambling authority you should consult. However, you should always try to resolve your issues with the casino first, and a lot of casinos have separate email addresses specifically for handling complaints.
If you’re worried about the security of the transactions you’re making at a casino, you should look for a logo with the acronym PCI DSS. This stands for Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, and this is something the payment industry has created. If you see this logo, it means the casino can be trusted for safe money transactions since they follow all of the rules set by the payment industry. Information about this can also be found in an FAQ section on the casino’s website.Another thing to look out for in terms of payments is where your money is kept while you play. Some gambling authorities, all of the best ones actually, regulate what the casino can do with your money while they are holding it. Your money shouldn’t go into a general bank account held by the casino; it should go into an account that is strictly for holding player funds. This means that as long as you have the money in your player account, it can’t be spent by the casino. Your deposit will be kept separate from the operating funds of the casino until your player account is empty, which will happen if you make a funds withdrawal or if you lose the money while playing.
The best known system tool for ensuring that a casino offers fair games is eCogra; however, there are other providers that also offer these kinds of systems. You want to make sure that the casino is using a certified third-party control system to ensure that the games of chance you’re playing are actually based on chance and not on other types of metrics. Rigged games are ones that have been set up to pay out less than they claim to or ones that give some players a greater chance of winning than others.
The eCogra logo can often be found in the footer of the casino’s website, but not all casinos choose to display it. If you can’t see this logo, go to the FAQs and see if you can find information about random number generators. If there are no FAQs on the site, check out their terms and conditions or contact the casino’s support and ask how they ensure their games are safe.
Most trustworthy casinos have information about site security in the website footer, so simply scroll down and look for the logo of a well-known security system.
The gambling license a casino operates under will have a big impact on your security. Not all licenses are equally safe for players for the simple reason that they are issued by different gambling authorities that work in different ways and have different rules. The rules and regulations may be quite similar, but the way they are enforced is a different story entirely. For example, if a casino doesn’t comply with the regulations, some gambling authorities may just issue a fine while others may revoke the casino’s license outright. How often gambling authorities show up for an unscheduled inspection or control will also vary.
The biggest differences between a safe, high quality gambling license and one that isn’t as good will usually show up in the areas of fair gaming, dispute resolution and the rules and systems for identifying and handling problem gamblers (responsible gambling). If your country of residence has its own gambling authority, playing at casinos that are licensed by them will be the safest option for you. Other international licenses that can be trusted are issued by the Malta Gambling Authority and the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. Curacao eGaming is getting better at protecting players whereas licenses from Panama and Costa Rica, for instance, are considered less safe. The worst option is obviously a casino with no license whatsoever.