Ukraine Blocks Illegal Online Casino After $82m Transfer to Russia

  • Criminals sent the money to Russia using cryptocurrency
  • Both Russians and Ukrainians were involved in the scheme 
  • Every component of the website has been blocked
  • Russian gaming company 1xBet was recently banned
Handcuffed man holding cards and chips
Ukrainian officials blocked an online casino after it was caught sending $82m in cryptocurrency to Russia. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Cooperation across the border

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) blocked an illegal online casino that transferred $82m to Russia, the department confirmed.

those involved in the transfer were both Ukrainian and Russian nationals

According to the SBU, those involved in the transfer were both Ukrainian and Russian nationals. The money was sent using cryptocurrency, which is a popular method for criminals hoping to avoid detection and transfer money without being tracked.

The Ukrainians in the group recruited servicemen, gathered computer equipment and advertising support, and vetted patrons of the casino. They also monitored ingoing and outgoing transactions and created the basic infrastructure for the casino. The Russian members of the casino filled out the management tree.

Illegal casino blocked in Ukraine

A total of ten individuals – five from Ukraine and five from Russia – were informed of suspicion under articles of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

Online gambling has been legal in Ukraine since 2020, although the site in question was unregulated and thereby illegal.

they realized they had stumbled into a multi-national, illegal operation

Ukrainian officials were alerted by the size of the transaction across the border, prompting an investigation. It was then that they realized they had stumbled into a multi-national, illegal operation.

All facets of the website, including its resources, have been blocked by the SBU. The criminals are also unable to view any financial tracking information, and the website is essentially on pause as probes continue.

Ukrainian officials declined to reveal the name of the online casino. 

Dealing with Russian influence

The bloody, contentious situation involving Russia and Ukraine needs no introduction. Situations like the one involving the illegal casino operators were always going to draw flags from authorities.

revoking Russian-based gaming company 1xBet’s gambling license

KRAIL, Ukraine’s national gambling and lotteries regulator, announced last month that it was revoking Russian-based gaming company 1xBet’s gambling license after just awarding it in April 2022, over a month and a half after Russia launched its first invasion of Ukraine.

A petition to restore 1xBet’s license was put on the Ukrainian president’s website in the aftermath, and it ultimately received the 25,000 signatures needed to force a reconsideration. 1xBet is currently trying to cancel KRAIL’s revocation in court. 

Meanwhile, another sports betting agency, MaximBet, was forced to shut down its operations in the United States. The announcement came earlier this week and cited “macroeconomic conditions.”

Ukraine also sent a letter to FIFA suggesting that it should remove Iran from the upcoming World Cup for its support of Russia, although that request was not granted.