Ukraine’s Bureau of Economic Security (ESBU) announced the termination of the activities of four illegal gambling establishments located in the Shevchenkivskyi, Solomyanskyi and Svyatoshynskyi districts of Kyiv.
During a series of searches in illegal gambling establishments, the local ESBU task force seized 120 pieces of computer equipment worth about of UAH1.5m ($40,000).
So far, ESBU’s pre-trial investigation has identified individuals with links to the organization of gambling without proper licenses.
The investigation also revealed that the leaders of the syndicate ran the organization without creating a legal entity, which is a violation of the law. Gambling establishments were mainly located on the first floors of residential buildings.
Illegal Activity: How Gambling Networks Skillfully Hid from the Authorities
Casino operators have taken steps to conceal their activities from the authorities. According to ESBU, the organizations were only available to trusted clients and only worked after the midnight curfew in the city. The state imposed a curfew due to martial law after the Russian invasion in February 2022.
Also, the casino was under constant surveillance thanks to security guards and a 24-hour video surveillance system. The police reported on the ongoing work on compiling a list of all participants in this illegal scheme.
Gambling Halls Are Only Allowed in Hotels
Under the current legislation, slot machines are allowed only in 3+ star hotels, while casinos can operate in 4-5-star hotels only. The law, adopted in July 2020, mandates a $1.2 million gambling license fee, as well as a 28% income tax. According to this law, access to gambling is allowed to persons over 21 years of age.
Due to the financial costs of the ongoing conflict with the Russian Federation over the past year, the problem of an increase in crimes involving tax evasion and infringement of state revenues has become more urgent.
The raid carried out by ESBU officers against illegal gambling establishments in the Kyiv region is another coercive operation in this direction.
In June, investigators announced the discovery of an underground casino and seven other gambling establishments, with UAH100,000 seized during the operation.
In May, ESBU declassified a criminal conspiracy involving the Ukrainian Bank and many gaming operators.
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