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Fighting gambling addiction: World practices and Ukrainian experience

The rapid growth of the global gambling market in the past few years, approximately three times faster in its growth rates than the increase in world GDP, has led to the increased attention of public institutions to the spread and, accordingly, prevention and eradication of gambling addiction (ludopathy).

Even though the general principles of preventing gambling addiction are the same in all civilized countries, the specifics of programs aimed at solving this problem vary between regions. Most countries with gambling as an integral part of the entertainment industry usually use targeted segmentation to more densely cover all vulnerable groups with precautionary measures.

This segmentation is based on the results of multi-year monitoring studies of the behaviour of various categories of gamblers and the effectiveness evaluation of measures taken against gambling addiction. In addition, the role of modern information technologies in preventive work is increasing, enabling quick and convenient communication between those in need and psychologists and other social and medical support representatives.

For instance, in the UK, the GamCare charity organization launched a new semi-structured online support group for women with gambling addiction, Way Forward. Online group meetings will take place on the Zoom platform every Tuesday from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for six weeks starting October 18. These meetings will be held by trained facilitators supporting women with gambling addiction. Such groups should become a safe and private place where women can share their experiences. Each week, the class will deal with the consequences of different types of harm from gambling. Online group members will learn how to care of themselves, deal with guilt and shame, and effectively manage anger and insults.

In addition, GamCare has partnered with the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust and Fast Forward on a new social project to educate young people in the UK about the potential harm of gambling. The Gambling Prevention Education Forum helped create relevant guidelines which can be used to teach children, adolescents, and young people across a wide age range, from 7 to 24 years.

In Ukraine, where the civilized legal gambling market is only about two years old, the programs to prevent and combat gambling addiction are still of a more general nature. Such programs are implemented by the largest specialized gambling association, the Ukrainian Gambling Council.

For instance, after a forced break due to the war and adjustments because of it, UGC reopened its hotline to provide psychological support to gamblers. As part of this project, professional psychologists will provide free initial consultations to people suffering from gambling addiction, as well as to their families.

At UGC, we continue to work on implementing initiatives to increase the social responsibility of gambling and comply with responsible gambling principles.


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