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Anton Kuchukhidze: UGC has launched the Office of Psychological Support for Gamblers

The Ukrainian Gambling Council continues to advance social responsibility projects in the gambling sector and implementation of the responsible gambling principles. Within this framework, at the end of December last year, we launched a psychological support project, the Office of Psychological Support for Gamblers. This is the first such project in Ukraine, which was implemented by legal gambling operators within the specialized association.

Social responsibility projects are an integral part of the legal gambling market in developed countries. A shining example is the United Kingdom, where most of such initiatives are supported by government and sponsored by donors, namely legal gambling operators and other gambling organizations. Projects such as GamCare with multi-million dollar budgets provide integral psychological support to gamblers, from individual telephone consultations to online and offline group therapy.

Of course, there is no need to talk about the scale of British gambling social responsibility projects in Ukraine. This makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, the legal gambling market in the UK has a long history, while in Ukraine just a year has passed since the industry was legalized. However, even at the initial stage of market development, legal operators understand the importance of social responsibility projects. The UGC-based Office of Psychological Support for Gamblers is a proof to that.

The Office’s work will be aimed at providing psychological support to players fighting gambling addiction, as well as to their families. Such support will be provided through a hotline that will operate 24/7 from January 10, as well as through individual consultations and group therapy.

In my opinion, this project is crucial for the entire legal gambling market for at least three reasons.

1. Concern for the gambler’s welfare is what distinguishes legal gambling operators from illegal ones. That is why legal business representatives care about gamblers and build long-term relationships with them. The legal business provides entertainment services, while the illegal sector seeks to rob players.

2. Investment attractiveness of the market. When deciding whether to enter a new market, foreign investors assess all factors. In addition to tax and regulatory legislation, they also pay attention to the social protection of gamblers. This is one of the criteria used to assess the market development and its level of civilization.

3. Image of the gambling industry. Such projects demonstrate that the legal gambling market is a modern and socially responsible business that cares about its customers. Accordingly, social projects facilitate a more effective fight against all myths about gambling, which have become more widespread thanks to activities of illegal actors during the eleven-year ban on gambling in Ukraine.

The more often representatives of legal gambling business implement social initiatives, the safer the industry is for players and the clearer it is for sceptics of the legalization. Let us not forget that gambling is, first of all, entertainment, a leisure activity that should remain as safe as possible for gamblers and their families.

Anton Kuchukhidze, Chairman of the#nbsp;Ukrainian Gambling Council, exclusively for the “Ukrainian News”


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