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Research proves: The threat of widespread gambling addiction is a myth

It was two years ago this summer that the Law of Ukraine “On State Regulation of Activities Regarding the Organization and Conduct of Gambling” No. 768-IX was adopted. After more than eleven years of existence outside the legal framework, gambling has come out of hiding and entered the “white market.”

This return was rather aggressively received by those who for many years have been making illegal revenues and fraudulent money. A powerful information campaign was launched against legal gambling, one of the main theses of which was the assumption that the legalization of gambling in Ukraine might lead to a rapid increase in the number of gambling addicts.

This myth is constantly fuelled by illegal market participants due to various conspiracies based either on complete fabrication or the description of isolated cases when only the illegal gambling market existed.

In fact, both foreign and domestic studies prove that the level of gambling addiction in civilized countries is extremely low. First of all, because of:

· a legal gambling market;

· national regulators;

· licensed gambling operators adhering to the responsible gambling principles.

Perhaps the result of another quarterly study published by the Gambling Commission (a British national regulator) best demonstrates the exaggeration of the role of gambling addiction in public life. According to it, the number of gambling addicts in the UK remains relatively stable, comprising 0.2% among those who have gambled at least once in the last year.

According to the study, there is no statistically significant difference between gender or age groups since the existing differences are within an error range caused by the study methodology.

For instance, the level of gambling addiction among the surveyed men was 0.3%, and 0.1% among women. In terms of age groups, the indicator was highest among 16-24-year-old gamblers (0.8%) and lowest among people over 65 (0.1%). In other age categories, it was between 0.2-0.3%.

It is worth noting that, despite such a low level of gambling addiction confirmed quarterly (that is, every three months!) by new monitoring studies, the Gambling Commission plans to introduce a new methodology to measure the level of prevalence and problematic character of gambling due to criticism that the survey might have included a significant number of gamblers, artificially increasing the estimated damage.

Let me remind you that during 2021-2022 the Ukrainian Gambling Council uniting more than 80% of licensed domestic gambling operators has conducted two studies on the Ukrainians’ attitude toward gambling. The first study was conducted in October 2021, and the second one was held in early February 2022.

Both surveys demonstrated that more than 92% of Ukrainians have not gambled in the last 12 months and do not plan to do it in the future. Only 7-8% had such experience or wanted to gamble. In comparison, 42.9% of Brits have engaged in at least one form of gambling in the previous month.

That is, Ukrainians are a nation that does not gamble. Thus, the gambling addiction is not a pressing issue in our country, and there are no prerequisites for this situation to change.


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