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Gambling addiction. Why does it develop and how to fight it?


The development of gaming addiction (ludomania) among players is one of the scare stories of those who oppose the legalization of gambling. Therefore, very often, they use it to manipulate public opinion, greatly exaggerating both the scale and consequences of this phenomenon. Undoubtedly, there are extreme cases when gambling addiction turns into a disease. However, if you promptly seek help from specialists, cultivate a responsible attitude to gambling and avoid illegal gambling establishments, you can avoid most of the adverse consequences.

According to global statistics, the number of players with gambling addiction usually does not exceed 1.5 to 2% of the total number of gamblers. In addition to that, the UGC conducted a number of studies that clearly demonstrated that gambling addiction in Ukraine is not widespread and is rather an exceptional phenomenon. That is, gambling is primarily entertainment for most people.

At the same time, it is necessary to understand that each player has his own behavioural peculiarities. Indeed, there are too venturous people who are able to lose control during the game and devote too much time to gambling, spending more money on the game than they can really afford.

Players who are prone to game addiction can be recognized by the following key features:

- Increase the intensity and frequency of the game.

- Prioritize gambling interests over other vital interests and everyday activities.

- Have frequent and sharp changes in physical and emotional state.

- Continue playing, despite the adverse consequences appear.

Fortunately, in Ukraine, despite the fact that the legal gambling market is relatively young, there are mechanisms to prevent the spread of ludomania.

Firstly, players who are aware of their addiction can self-limit their participation in gambling. If they cannot do this, their close relatives also have this option.

Second, the Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries has signed the Memorandum with a number of representatives of the legal gambling market aimed at institutionalizing efforts to combat the spread of gambling addiction.

Third, legal gambling organizers make efforts to combat the spread of gambling addiction within the framework of responsible gambling principles. In addition to that, the compliance with these principles is far from declarative, as many organizers develop and implement relevant electronic systems capable of monitoring the risky behaviour of players and stop the game if it becomes too disadvantageous for the player.

Fourth, you can always contact the hotline of the Ukrainian Gambling Council, where experts will provide you with appropriate legal advice on self-limitation or limiting your loved ones from participating in gambling.

However, we should note that since these mechanisms exist in the current legal framework, they apply only to legal gambling organizers who have the appropriate licenses and perform player identification.

The situation with illegal gambling businesses is much more complicated, as they do not identify players and do not comply with the legislation. Therefore, a person who is listed in the gambling addict registry can play in illegal gambling halls and online platforms without restrictions. This is a very simple example that demonstrates that illegal businesses are the main source of gambling addiction. They do not care who came to play with them and whether this person has problems with gaming addiction; they care only about the fact that they earn from it. That is why the effectiveness of the fight against gaming addiction directly depends on the systematic eradication of illegal gambling businesses.

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