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Illegal gambling operators and lotteries are the main threat to the implementation of gambling reform

This year, the fight against illegal gambling and gambling addiction in Ukraine has reached the highest state level. This is evidenced by the enactment of the National Security and Defense Council's decision "On Counteracting the Negative Effects of Gambling on the Internet" by Presidential Decree No. 234/2024.

This suggests that today, in the fourth year of the reform of the domestic gambling market, the problem of the spread of illegal business in the gambling sector has become a matter of national security. Therefore, it is quite positive that the eradication of this phenomenon has become a matter of interest at such a high level.

Why has the issue of combating the activities of illegal companies become so important and urgent? First of all, because the vast majority of illegal gambling companies have direct ties to russia. Accordingly, gambling in illegal establishments, which are mostly online services that outnumber legal ones by orders of magnitude, is aiding russian aggression on the part of players, even if unknowingly.

I would like to remind you that according to UGC, there are currently more than 1,200 illegal sites still operating! Using their services means that by losing money on these illegal platforms, Ukrainians are actually financing the russian war against our country, which they are defending, putting their own lives at risk. In addition, playing on illegal platforms not only provides rashists with additional funds, but also allows them to obtain personal data of players, as well as geolocation data.

Given that some of the players are military personnel, it is probably not necessary to explain how catastrophic the consequences can be not only for them, but also for their colleagues. Therefore, raising the issue of combating the black gambling market to the highest state level is a completely reasonable and logical step.

However, the problem with illegal operators has deeper roots and is not limited to the black market of gambling. The gray market, which is disguised as other types of business, namely lotteries, is no less dangerous. It's been more than a decade since lotteries were removed from the general gambling regulation and operate under a separate law. This allowed lottery operators to legalize the imitation of online casinos, betting and other types of gambling under their auspices back in the days of the legislative ban on gambling, which allowed them to conduct it unhindered and without threats of prosecution of their organizers.

It seems that times have changed, but the gray market has not disappeared, and with the growing attention of government institutions to solving the problem of the black market, its representatives will migrate "under the roof" of lottery operators.

This process of merging illegal operators and lottery operators can be prevented by constant attention to it and a broad public outcry. Such migration is a threat to the implementation of the gambling reform, in which the social responsibility of business, honest tax payment, and player safety are central.


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