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Gambling addiction in Ukraine is not widespread


In my previous blogs, I repeatedly emphasized that the problem of gambling addiction (ludomania) in Ukraine is not widespread. In the previous post, I have shown updated statistics to support this thesis. However, where do all these articles and bombastic statements about the "ludomania pandemic in Ukraine" due to the legalization of gambling come from? Let's figure it out.


Issues of social responsibility of the gaming business and gaming addiction have been actively discussed recently in the media, expert and business circles. Statements by some "experts", "public figures" and political figures that the legalization of gambling led to major problems is a part of this discourse.


Opponents of the legalization of gambling who operate on these theses, using manipulation, actually try to unload the responsibility for the spread of gambling addiction to representatives of the legal market. Of course, ludomania exists in Ukraine just as in any country where there is gambling. However, and I would like to specially emphasize this, it is not widespread and does not pose a threat to society, existing at the individual level.


Based on official statistics and survey results, we have already seen that the total number of cases of ludomania is insignificant and does not constitute a problem of the national level. Existing manifestations of gambling addiction are related to the psychological properties of certain players, and not to the activities of gambling organizers, aimed at "inducing people to play more".


In addition to that, licensees are not interested in players demonstrating dangerous gambling behaviour. After all, for example, if you allow a player to play without proper identification or ignore the fact that the player is included in the register of persons who have restricted access to gambling establishments, you can very easily lose your license. Let me remind you that it cost millions, and in some cases hundreds of millions of hryvnias per year. Would a sane legal organizer risk that kind of money and reputation for an instant gain? This is a rhetorical question.


Therefore, the legalization of gambling is not the cause of spreading ludomania. On the contrary, it contributes to the introduction of effective mechanisms to limit this phenomenon. The lack of effectiveness in the fight against illegal gambling businesses poses the biggest risks, and this are the main characteristic of the illegal gambling market.


No one monitors gaming behaviour in illegal gambling establishments and on illegal online platforms, because illegal businesses do not care about the psychological state of players, their financial situation or ensuring proper playing conditions. The main goal of illegal businesses is to maximize profits in any way, and it does not matter if it is about not paying taxes and license fees or encouraging players to lose large amounts of money.


In view of the above, it becomes absolutely clear who actually benefits from unloading responsibility for cases of ludomania in Ukraine on legal gambling organizers. Such public and media activity of critics of the legalization is a vivid example of the fact that shady organizers continue to actively fight against the formation of a civilized gambling market in Ukraine even in the conditions of a full-scale war.

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