Ukrainian national telecommunications regulator the National Commission for State Regulation of Communications and Informatization (NKRZI) called on internet service providers to block 32 online gambling websites on Friday (21 February).
The decision, which came at the order of the Chief Investigative Directorate of the Security Service of Ukraine, was based on a judicial decision by Oksana Hardina, judge in the Shevchenkovskiy District Court of Kyiv.
Hardina’s ruling gave the telecommunications regulator the power to issue blocking orders against websites offering illegal content, including online gambling.
As a result, internet service providers must block access to the 32 websites, which include domains for PartyPoker, Pinnacle and CloudBet as well as FastPay Casino, Yukon Gold, Golden Tiger Casino and BetChain.
An appeal to the order may be filed to the Kyiv Court of Appeal, within five days of the issuance of the order.
The decision comes as legal online gambling in Ukraine gets closer. In January, the country’s legislature approved a bill that would legalise gambling in the country in its first reading, with 260 of the country’s 450 deputies voting in favour.
The bill, 2285-D, was introduced by Oleg Marusyak and includes a licence fee of UAH6.7m (£212,800/€249,500/$277,300) for online gambling. A limited number of retail bookmaking licences would also be available, distributed through a points-based system, while casinos would be available in hotels.
In December, when an earlier version of Marusyak’s bill was rejected in a vote in the legislature, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky threatened to strictly enforce the country’s existing anti-gambling laws if a framework for legal gambling was not adopted.