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Ludopathy in Ukraine is not a widespread social problem

Currently, the topic of gambling addiction (ludopathy) is raised quite often in the media, and is surrounded by many rumours and assumptions. However, until recently, domestic politicians and various medical experts practically never mentioned such a problem. Only after the adoption in 2020 of Law of Ukraine "On State Regulation of Activities on Organization and Conduct of Gambling" No. 768-IX, which created the conditions for the legalization of the gambling market in Ukraine, this topic began to periodically appear in the public space.

Let me remind you that before 2020, the inclusion of gambling business as a type of trade (!) activity, which required mandatory compulsory purchase of a trade patent for operations on the provision of services in the field of gambling was virtually the single example of the regulatory activity in the gambling sector.

Only three years ago, the legislators determined that combating the gambling addiction (ludopathy) is one of the basic principles of state policy on organizing and conduct of gambling. In particular, this provision is included in Clause 9 of Article 4 of the Law of Ukraine No. 768-IX. Responsibility for its implementation was assigned to a specialized state institution, the Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (CRGL), which created, maintains and keeps the Register of persons with restricted access to gambling establishments and/or participation in gambling.

For more than two years of operation of this Register, it turned out that fantastic stories about hundreds of thousands or even millions of people with ludomania in Ukraine were and remain just fantastic stories. In fact, as of April 2023, the Register contains up-to-date information on 687 individuals. For the entire period since its launch, the following number of entries were made:

*195 entries – for 2021;

*315 entries – for 2022;

*245 entries – for 3 months of 2023.

Official statistics once again proves that ludomania is not widespread in Ukraine. People may have gambling problems only on an individual level, but it is not a widespread social problem. In fact, all entries in the Register were made on the basis of the statements of the players themselves or their relatives.

The procedure for applying to CRGL for inclusion in the Register is quite simple, and instructions on the algorithm of actions for both players and relatives are available on the Commission's website. And if ludopathy was widespread, the number of accounts in the Registry would be statistically significant, which is not the case.

However, this does not mean that there are absolutely no risks of the possible spread of gambling addiction in the future. That is why both Ukrainian legislation and the logic of civilized gambling require all participants in the legal gambling market to constantly work and think about protecting the population from gambling addiction.


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