Ukraine Denies Speculation President Zelensky Acquired Cyprus Casino Resort

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Ukraine is dismissing reports that its President Volodymyr Zelensky purchased a casino resort and hotel in the Republic of Cyprus amid the country’s war with Russia.

Ukraine is denying reports that its President Volodymyr Zelensky has bought a casino and hotel resort in Cyprus. Ukraine says the gossip is the work of the Russian propaganda network. (Image:

Rumors surfaced recently that an offshore entity called Film Heritage Inc. registered in Belize earlier this month acquired the Vuni Palace Hotel and its accompanying Viva! Casino. The property is located on Cyprus’ northern shore in the Mersin resort corridor.  

The Embassy of Ukraine in Cyprus denied the reports suggesting Zelensky bought Vuni Palace and Viva! Casino.

This false information is yet another lie aimed at discrediting Ukraine and its leadership in the eyes of the world community,” an embassy statement read. “We urge readers and media professionals to trust only reliable sources and be cautious of manipulations and Russian propaganda.”

Vuni Palace and its casino opened in 2006. The resort features 170 guestrooms and six suites, three restaurants plus a lobby bar and pool bar, a full-service spa, two outdoor pools, a karaoke, billiards, chess, and ping pong room, a yoga studio, and six meeting halls.  

The Viva! Casino is a small gaming venue featuring 270 slot machines and 15 live dealer table games. The casino is open 24/7.

Ukraine at War

OdaTV, a Turkish online news site, was among the first news outlets to spread the gossip that an entity controlled by Zelensky assumed control of Vuni Palace. The website said it wasn’t known how much Film Heritage paid for Vuni and Viva! Casino, but a commercial real estate listing for the property came with an asking price of 150 million pounds (US$191.9 million).  

Fact-checkers, including, have dismissed the Zelensky casino takeover talks. Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides has also made public statements saying the casino hotel reports have no merit.

Political experts covering the ongoing conflict believe the Zelensky casino rumor was likely started by pro-Russia media outlets and spread on social media. Russian propaganda routinely engages in anti-Ukraine narratives to prop up support for the war.

According to the United States Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. has sent about $175 billion to Ukraine since its defense of Russia began in February 2022. 

Cyprus Gaming Industry

Cyprus is an island country in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. Though it’s geographically located in West Asia, its cultural and geopolitical ties are aligned with Southeast Europe.

Cyprus legalized gambling in 2012. The law authorized small casinos like Viva! and betting shops where slots and sports betting are allowed. The country also has legal forms of online gaming.

In 2015, Cyprus expanded its gaming market to include a single integrated casino resort and four smaller “satellite” casinos. Hong Kong-based Melco Resorts, one of the six casino operators in China’s Macau that additionally has an integrated resort casino in the Philippines, won the development license in Cyprus.

Melco opened City of Dreams Mediterranean, a €550 million (US$599 million) investment, in July 2023. The 80,000-square-foot casino is the largest in Cyprus with approximately 1,000 slots and more than 100 table games.

City of Dreams features 500 guestrooms in a 14-story pyramid structure, plus an amusement and water park, luxury retail shopping, convention facilities, outdoor and indoor pools, and numerous restaurants and bars. The complex is located along Lady’s Mile Big Beach in Limassol on the island’s southern side.

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