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Anton Kuchukhidze: Illegal gambling operators only pose threats

For 11 years, gambling has been “banned” in Ukraine. During this time, a powerful illegal gambling market has emerged, bringing a bunch of troubles to gamblers, problems to the State, and income to everyone covering it except the budget. Following the legalization of gambling, the situation began to change dramatically, and illegal operators found themselves at a great disadvantage. Today, tackling their activities is only a matter of time.

The difference between civilized and uncivilized countries is that the backbone of statehood in the former is the rule of law. It means that any activity in the country is strictly regulated by law and that everyone violating these rules or unwilling to comply with them must bear legal responsibility for their actions.

The goal of gambling legalization carried out in Ukraine in 2020 was to create a civilized gambling market and combat illegal gambling. The transformation of gambling into a legal entertainment service has become the key objective of the reform for the State and for companies with licenses to organize and conduct gambling.

For instance, a legal market emerged alongside the illegal one, with civilized rules of the game and clear responsibility for non-compliance with the latter. For really powerful and professional companies to form this market and for the state budget to receive quick dividends, some of the highest license prices in the world were established. We also developed and implemented responsible gambling principles to ensure respect for gamblers’ rights by legal operators.

Such a rapid and active development of the legal market, of course, could not please illegal operators who, even in times of war, continue to launch discriminatory information campaigns against legal operators. This, by the way, describes them perfectly. Illegal operators are always trying to achieve their goals by deceiving and manipulating, as well as causing problems for everyone – gamblers, the State, and legal operators purely for their benefit. However, it is not the only thing differentiating them from legal operators.

1. Legal operators stand for responsible gambling. Unlike illegal actors, they are not interested in widespread gambling addiction. There is not a single illegal gambling hall where they will tell you, for example, that according to the law, you can set a limit on the funds you are willing to spend on gambling.

2. The State benefits directly from legal gambling since legal operators pay billions of hryvnias to the state budget. And they do it even in times of war. Illegal operators bring only losses.

3. When you play in legal gambling halls, you get full service and a high-quality gambling experience. You know that at any time, the administrators will give you the necessary information, that your money is safe and you will receive the winnings according to the law, and that your data is protected. Should I remind you that illegal operators do not guarantee any such thing?

I would also like to remind you about the mechanisms established by the Ukrainian Gambling Council to protect the gamblers’ rights and fight against illegal operators. A hotline was established for legal advice on self-restraint or restricting close relatives from access to gambling. We also have a hotline to report illegal gambling advertising or advertising of illegal gambling halls.

Always keep in mind that if you have already decided to gamble, do it only on legal gaming platforms and in legal gambling establishments. Only in this case your rights as a gambler will be guaranteed, and you will be able to collect your winnings and enjoy the game, receiving a quality service and not a headache and disappointment.

Anton Kuchukhidze, Chairman of the Ukrainian Gambling Council, exclusively for the Ukrainian News


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