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About gambling on the front line. Does it require limitation?

The topic for discussion may seem unusual: should we respond to gambling among the military in the zone of hostilities, on the front line? Legally, the state cannot prevent the desire of a citizen of Ukraine to gamble anywhere, including on the front line. In turn, a citizen has the right to use his/her free time as he/she wishes.

However, the situation in our country calls for more attention on the subject of online casino access, poker, mobile betting, etc. for those in military uniform. Obviously, even the discussion on this topic should be broader and should also be conducted at the legislative level.

The basis of this problem is not about prohibiting or imposing any restrictions. In a rule-of-law state, which is Ukraine, this is impossible. The problem is somewhat different: it is about responsibility and maximum protection of the rights of citizens, in particular those military personnel who play during breaks from service, as well as their families. First, the military must be made aware that they should gamble responsibly and that gambling is entertainment, not a way to replenish financial savings. Secondly, if gambling us held on illegal resources, this is a direct way to replenish and finance the budget of the enemy, not to mention losing money.

According to the law, there is an algorithm of actions to limit access to legal resources on the part of the closest relatives, namely parents, a spouse, or children. The website of the Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries has a detailed explanation of what should be done for those who cannot cope with gambling addiction and how it should be done.

However, these rules, this algorithm is more suitable for peacetime conditions. What about someone who is away from home in the Armed Forces and his/her family cannot directly influence his/her online gaming habit?

One of the ways out in this situation is the possibility for Members of the Parliament to make amendments to the dedicated law and create a mechanism where, at the request of the commanders of military units, it would be possible to limit the access of their subordinates to legal gambling. They are, in fact, the closest "relatives" and "close persons" of a serviceman at this time. So, why shouldn’t they be given the ability to regulate access of the military unit staff to online gambling resources? Ivan Rudy, the Chairman of the Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries, wrote about this on his Facebook page, hinting that it can and should be done quickly.

Moreover, it is possible to make similar amendments on granting authority to unit commanders to restrict gambling addicts to the draft law on mobilization, which is under consideration in the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. It would be interesting how MPs will respond to this completely healthy initiative.


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