Ukraine, famous around the world due to the Chernobyl tragedy, has plenty of positive superlatives next to its name. For example, it’s the largest country located entirely in Europe, the cradle of the Slavic culture and the country with the deepest subway station in the world. Of course, from a sporting point of view, Ukraine has plenty to be proud of as well. Andriy Shevchenko won the Champions League trophy with AC Milan while the Klitschko brothers dominated the boxing world for quite a long period of time. The good results at various Olympic disciplines can’t be overlooked either.
With such successful athletes and a big and resourceful country, gambling and sports betting quickly made their way in the day to day lives of Ukrainian citizens. It is estimated that around 40% of adults gamble at least once per month and it goes without saying that betting sites in Ukraine are quite popular. All that despite all gambling forms being banned since 2009. However, punters found ways to continue placing bets at international betting sites in Ukraine. The good news is that there are advanced talks about revamping the online betting industry within the country with new laws and regulations.
Ever since Ukraine gained its independence in 1991, betting and gambling were allowed. Of course, the first forms of gambling in the region were not big enough to generate any attention from the authorities. So, it wasn’t until 2003 when the first legislation on gambling was enacted. The first law to touch the subject of betting and gambling – Law number 4204 on Gambling Games in Ukraine was mainly focused on bingo, horse racing, and casino games. However, by this time betting was also already flourishing in the country with multiple land-based Ukraine betting shops.
When the online bookmakers started booming, most local punters chose to enjoy international bookies that were accepting players from Ukraine since the country didn’t show any intention of legalizing or regulating betting in any way. There were no notable Ukraine betting companies to counter this phenomenon so the foreign bookmakers thrived in the region. Furthermore, in 2009 all forms of gambling were banned by the authorities following a disaster at a Ukrainian gambling hall and betting at international bookmakers became even harder.
Recently, several new Ukraine betting laws in draft forms were approved by the Cabinet of Ministers to revamp the betting and gambling activities within the country. Besides coming with a more relaxed view on betting and gambling, the new laws will bring the establishment of a new regulatory body, subordinated to the Cabinet of Ministers. In total, there are 9 bills and amendments to change the betting environment in the country and while information on what these bills say isn’t easy to access, president Volodymyr Zelensky is one of the most active supporters for the legalization and regulation of betting and gambling in Ukraine.
One bill specifically addresses the licensing framework for sportsbooks, allowing these online sports betting sites to own 10 brick-and-mortar shops within the country. So, it’s very interesting to see how the new gambling laws will look like in Ukraine. However, until things are settled, punters can continue enjoying the international bookmakers with impunity.
Even though there are no local Ukraine betting websites available, that doesn’t mean that Ukrainian punters are easy to please. They always look for bookies with high odds, a diverse offer in sports and betting markets and localization services. So, any bookmaker that wants to make it on the Ukrainian market should focus on delivering competitive odds, flexible deposit options with quick payouts and diversity when it comes to football, hockey, and fighting markets. Having the website translated in Ukrainian or Russian, offering UAH as currency, and offering customer support in one of these languages is also a plus since it shows interest in the region. The Ukraine sports betting landscape is dominated by football so having appealing odds for most of the big European football competitions is a winning ticket for bookmakers.
Since no laws ever specifically referred to online betting in the country, there is nothing stopping punters from accessing the bookmakers that accept Ukrainian customers. Even with the ban in 2009 on Ukraine bookmakers, there was no restriction mechanism in place, such as blacklists or the authorities forcing ISPs to block certain bookmakers. So, accessing the big international bookmakers is possible even without a VPN. However, since some Ukrainian bookmakers stopped taking players from the country, it’s best you keep one handy, especially now with the advanced talks about a new law.
Most of the Ukraine sports betting sites rely on Russian payment options for this region. Since there are no locally-developed Fintech companies, payment options like Qiwi, WebMoney or Yandex are scoring high in popularity with Ukrainian punters. However, there’s a growing number of punters that choose to bet using internationally-popular payment options like Visa, MasterCard or ewallets like Skrill and Neteller. E-wallets are considered the best-fitted option for punters since they also allow fast withdrawals compared to other payment methods. For example, a withdrawal with Skrill can be processed in under 24 hours, while a debit card withdrawal can take up to 3 days to complete.
There are no licensed betting exchanges in Ukraine. However, with no restrictions in place, betting exchanges are easily accessible – just like the bookmakers. So, Ukrainian punters can take advantage of the big odds and multiple betting markets made available at world-class betting exchanges such as Betfair, Smarkets or Betdaq. Most of the time a betting exchange will allow punters to create their own markets as long as there’s another punter out there ready to back or lay their bets.
Until the new law reaches its final form and is voted and applied by the Ukrainian authorities, the only way to file a complaint against the bookmakers you are enjoying is contacting the authorities that licensed them. Seeing that there’s no local authority, we always recommend playing at reliable bookies, like the ones listed above.