Blogs

Caution: Illegal gambling is now disguising itself as licensed market operators

The war negatively affected all economy sectors, and gambling was no exception to the rule. However, from the very beginning of the full-scale invasion of russian troops into Ukraine, licensed gambling operators, like representatives of other businesses, have been actively helping the State.

For instance, members of the Ukrainian Gambling Council (UGC), a specialized association uniting about 80% of all legal gambling companies, have already paid hundreds of millions of hryvnias in license fees, transferred tens of millions in support of the AFU, territorial defence units, and humanitarian accounts of the NBU and the Ministry of Social Policy.

However, at the same time, illegal gambling market representatives stepped up, considering the war as a chance for additional money scams.

When the income of Ukrainians is falling, and the activities of law enforcement agencies are primarily aimed at repelling hostile aggression, illegal operators are trying to capitalize on the turmoil and make illicit gains. Usually, they use various advertising tools, mainly online advertising.

Realizing that our law enforcement officers are not always capable of allocating resources to monitor the PR activities of illegal market participants, UGC (with the support of our lawyers) has created a hotline that citizens of Ukraine and representatives of media, advertising companies, and legal gambling operators may contact for advice on legal gambling advertising or report illegal advertising.

Within a month of the hotline operation, we saw a whole new trend of illegal operators using UGC materials by referring to the Association’s leaders, quoting our and our members’ statements, and placing links to their illegal online websites within the white market’s materials. They advertise Illegal brands, the names of which are very similar to legal ones.

For instance, the material about media attacks on legal gambling representatives contains links to articles where, along with the list of legal market operators (Vbet, Cosmolot, Pokermatch, and Favbet), there are names of illegal market operators, such as Superboss, Vavada, and Vulkan 777.

I believe this is some kind of response from illegal operators to our hotline aimed at combatting illegal advertising. We have already informed government agencies about more than 20 cases of illegal advertising.

Let me remind you that illegal operators want to avoid paying license fees and convince customers that their activities are legal by parading the latter as support from the Association and legal companies.

That is why before gambling, check whether the brand you choose is legal. You may do this by using our Association’s website containing the list of legal companies and areas of their legal activities.
Viktoriya Zakrevskaya