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Ludopathy in Ukraine - fiction and reality

Legal gambling market in Ukraine continues its development. Despite the restrictions imposed on the business during the coronavirus pandemic and the active destruction of assets due to russia's full-scale military aggression against Ukraine, gambling is gradually recovering its economic activity. It pays taxes and license fees, and helps the Ukrainian Armed Forces and Territorial Defence Forces to repel the russian onslaught.

However, unfortunately, we cannot erase from history the years of existence of the shadow market (the gambling business in Ukraine was banned from 2009 to 2020). Representatives of this market are trying to oppose the work of the legal gambling business, in particular through attempts to create a negative image of gambling through spreading various myths. The claim that the legal gambling market contributes to the spread of gambling addiction (ludopathy) and that "everyone will lose everything" is one of such fantastic assumptions.

In reality, such a problem does not exist in Ukraine, just like in other countries, where gambling has long become a regular part of economic and social and cultural life. Because entertainment is a natural human activity, and not a disease at all.

In addition to that, opinion polls prove that Ukrainians are not a gambling nation at all, and before the full-scale invasion, the absolute majority (92.7%) of our citizens had no experience of playing for money, and only about 7% planned to obtain such an experience sometime in the future.

At the same time, when approving the legalization of the gambling business, legislators provided mechanisms to protect citizens from gambling addiction and envisaged them as obligations of the national regulator (Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries, CRGL). In particular, the responsibilities of CRGL include the control of access to gambling establishments through the identification of players and the creation of a specialized Register of persons with restricted access to accessing gambling establishments and/or participating in gambling. The Register is a database of information about individuals who, according to submitted applications or by court decision, have restricted access to gambling establishments and participating in gambling.

Currently, this Register kept by CRGL, contains only 688 entries! Of them, 686 are entries made based on applications on self-restraint! Applications for restrictions, as head of CRGL Ivan Rudyi emphasized, were submitted mainly by parents and wives of players.

If we look at the age structure, there are 272 entries in the age category "from 21 to 30 years old", 278 in the category "from 31 to 40 years old", and 104 in the category "from 41 to 50 years old". The smallest number, 33 entries, is in the category "51 years and older". If we take into account gender, 643 entries in the Register are related to male players, and 44 are related to women. And this is for THREE YEARS (!) of operation of the legal gambling market in Ukraine.

Both opinion polls and official statistics indicate that ludomania in Ukraine is not a problem and is not widespread. In addition to that, the myth about it is used only by shadow businesses, as legal market is always about control, responsibility and transparency. There is no place for various "manias" in such market.


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