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Receiving a housing subsidy as a ground for restricting participation in gambling

The history of gambling addiction cannot be separated from the history of gambling, but only with the legalization of gambling in Ukraine did a state system for preventing gambling addiction emerge and systematic work to reduce the risks of its spread, aimed at both players and their families, began.

Much of this work is carried out by the Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries. And below I want to focus on the mechanisms used to prevent the use of social assistance from the state in the gambling market.

Social assistance is monetary and/or in-kind assistance, mostly financed from the budget and voluntary donations, and paid to people in need. The purpose of social assistance is to make life easier for people in difficult financial circumstances, regardless of their employment status.

One of the types of social assistance in Ukraine is a housing subsidy, which, according to the current legislation, is a non-refundable targeted state social assistance to citizens - residents of households living in residential premises (houses) and unable to pay for housing and communal services and expenses for managing an apartment building on their own.

For several years now, this assistance has been provided to households only in cash, and some people are tempted to spend it for other purposes, including gambling.

It is quite a difficult task to curb the temptation on your own, but family and friends can help. To ensure that this assistance is both effective and legal, CRGL has defined the receipt of a housing subsidy as one of the grounds for applying for restrictions on visiting gambling facilities and gamble.

Let me remind you that such a statement can be written by the person who is a gambling addicted or by family members of the first degree of kinship.

To do this you need to submit to the CRGL an application for restriction and indicate the reason for it. In particular, the justification may include information:

- information about the person's participation in gambling (duration of the game, ability to stop it, etc.) and its impact on the player, his/her family relationships or other areas of life;

- confirming that the player (family) receives a housing subsidy or benefits for housing and utility services;

- other information, circumstances, and evidence that, in the applicant's opinion, confirm the justification for the restriction;

- the purpose of such a restriction (to protect the financial condition of a person/family, to avoid negative consequences of gambling, etc.)

Is this mechanism enough to protect families with gambling addicts from misuse of gambling subsidies? Unfortunately, no! Because all restrictions and self-restrictions work exclusively in the field of legal gambling and do not affect the work of the shadow market, where there is no protection for the player and his family. And it's not just about the money used for betting. Starting to play on an illegal website, you can risk personal data theft, in particular, "sharing" access to your bank card/account and, accordingly, losing all the money there, and even getting into a loan with the bank. And this problem will be solved by law enforcement, not the regulator of the legal gambling market.

Therefore, it is worth remembering that a civilized market is always better than a black one. The protection of players and their families can be ensured only in the legal gambling sector. Therefore, its development is the key to reducing risks and problems for everyone - players, businesses, and the state.


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