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All over the world, lottery is a game of chance, and only in Ukraine it is not. Why?


The history of gambling goes back five thousand years, and lotteries as a type of gambling have been known for over two thousand years. Some researchers believe that lotteries were used to raise funds for the construction of the Great Wall of China. However, it is generally accepted that in the European scientific tradition, the emergence of lotteries is associated with the first written mention of a public lottery draw organized in Bruges (Belgium) by the widow of the famous Flemish artist Jan van Eyck on February 24, 1466.

At the state level, lotteries began to be organized in the XVI century, in particular, in 1520, King Francis I of France organized a lottery to replenish the treasury, and in 1559, Queen Elizabeth I of Great Britain began to hold regular state lotteries, which were stopped only in 1825 under pressure from the parliamentary opposition. It is not surprising that one of the most authoritative dictionaries, the Cambridge Dictionary, defines lottery as follows: a lottery is a game of chance, often organized by a government to raise money, in which people win money if they buy a winning ticket.

However, Ukraine goes its own way here and, despite the quite adequate definition of games for money in the current legislation, does not consider lotteries to be gambling! Thus, as defined by the Law of Ukraine "On State Lotteries in Ukraine", a lottery is a mass game, regardless of its name, the terms of which provide for the drawing of a prize (winning) fund among its participants and the victory in which is random, the territory of which extends beyond one building (structure), regardless of the method of accepting money for participation in such a game.

While the entire civilized world considers lottery activities to be a part of the gambling market and gambling itself to be a component of the entertainment sector, domestic legislators are reluctant to regulate the situation with the regulation of lottery operators according to current global standards. Today, when lotteries all over the world pay license fees, taxes on gross gaming revenue (GGR), and adhere to the rules and principles of responsible gaming, Ukrainian realities guarantee lottery operators an exceptional position outside the general rules.

This can only be explained by the interest of some MPs in preserving the status quo through certain financial incentives. It is difficult to determine the reason for the "invisibility" of the problem with the exclusive position of lottery operators by the parliament in any other way. I would like to remind you that lotteries operated in Ukraine during the legislative ban on legal gambling in Ukraine in 2009-2020, and the illegal gambling market felt absolutely comfortable "under the roof" of lotteries.

Currently, there are no age, territorial, or other restrictions on participation in the lottery. Anyone can purchase lottery tickets, while to play in a legal gambling establishment, you need to prove that you are at least 21 years old. The legislation also clearly defines restrictions on the location of gambling facilities, gambling advertising, the need for organizers to comply with the principles of responsible gambling, etc.

There is nothing similar about lotteries. Therefore, it is not surprising that there are more gambling addicts among those who regularly count on winning the lottery than among other categories of players. The reason is the unlimited availability of lottery tickets to the general public.

Therefore, given Ukraine's aspirations for the EU, the streamlining of legislation should include the regulation of lotteries in accordance with civilized European standards.

 

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