The gambling regulatory policy of the state is quite diverse and is not focused exclusively on licensing and checking the activities of gambling business organizers. In the same way, activities of legal gambling companies are not limited to doing everything possible to increase profits.
From the very beginning of its recovery in the legal field in 2020, the domestic gambling market proved to be socially responsible both in complying with the rules for advertising its operation and in efforts to prevent and combat ludomania (gambling addiction). Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, almost all licensed gambling organizers regularly help the state, performing volunteer activities and donating for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the Territorial Defence Forces.
However, a responsible attitude to advertising was and remains a characteristic of legal gambling. Back as 2021, the special attention to the implementation of legal regulations on gambling advertising among legal organizers was institutionalized in such a self-regulatory mechanism as the Memorandum on Advertising. This document, after several months of fruitful joint work and extensive coordination, was signed on 18 October 2021 by the largest (at that time) licensed gambling organizers. All of them are members of the Ukrainian Gambling Council, the largest association of legal gambling organizers in Ukraine. The memorandum became the first document of joint regulation and self-regulation in the field of Ukrainian gambling. In two years, the Memorandum has not lost its relevance. Compliance with its provisions distinguishes the advertising of legal organizers from illegal ones.
However, the self-management of commercial companies regarding combating illegals has its limitations and does not replace the functions and powers of state bodies. So, it is very good that currently, two years after the signing of the Memorandum, the Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (CRGL) has additional opportunities to combat illegal advertising.
The war affected all processes in Ukraine, and the gambling market was no exception to the general rule. However, everything that was postponed due to the start of full-scale aggression is gradually catching up. In particular, on 2 October 2023, amendments to the Law of Ukraine "On Advertising" entered into force. It gives CRGL new powers to control advertising in the field of organizing and conducting of gambling. If a violation of the law is revealed (for example, due to manipulation, substitution of concepts, abuse of sponsorship, use of product placement, etc.), the CRGL will apply sanctions for non-compliance with the established peculiarities of gambling advertising.
In addition to that, the CRGL has repeatedly called on customers, manufacturers and distributors of advertising to take a responsible approach to gambling advertising and to comply with the requirements established by law. In particular, not to create a false perception of gambling as a tool for quick and easy satisfaction of all material needs, because in anticipation of gains described in the advertisement, the player loses savings, takes out loans, and as a result, develops gambling addiction, problems in the family, etc.
It is clear that such appeals by CRGL are consistently ignored by illegal gambling organizers. Therefore, the vector of attention of regulatory and law enforcement agencies should be directed to their exposure and termination of their activities.