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The "issue" of gambling addiction in Ukraine is a myth

More than 2 years have passed since the legalization of gambling in Ukraine. The assumption that the opening of legal casinos will lead to a "gaming addiction pandemic" and that "every second pensioner will go and lose his/her pension in slot machines" has always been the key thesis of the opponents of legalization. Of course, this did not happen, but supporters of the prohibition of gambling continue to artificially fan the fictitious "issue" of gambling.

The legalization of gambling in Ukraine has not led to a surge of gambling addiction, as lobbyists of the illegal gambling market and populists predicted. As of the end of January 2023, only 315 people imposed self-limitation on themselves. By the way, before the legalization of gambling, the mechanism of self-limitation or restriction of the player by the closest relatives did not exist at all. Just as today there are no official statistics that the legalization of gambling has led to an increase in gambling addiction.

In turn, opinion polls statistically confirm that Ukrainians are not a gambling nation at all and there is no global issue of gambling addiction.

First, 92.8% of Ukrainians had no gambling experience at all, and only 8.2% stated that they would like to play at least one gambling game in the future. That is, the level of interest of the population in gambling fluctuates at the level of 8%. What kind of "overwhelming gambling addiction" can we talk about in such a case?

Secondly, more than 43% of the population supports the legalization of gambling. Respondents of the poll call additional revenues for the state in the form of license fees and taxes the key advantages of the reform. That is, almost half of the population treats gambling industry rationally. In most cases, people do not want to gamble, but they understand that legalizing gambling increases the revenues of the state budget.

If anything contributes to the spread of gambling addiction in Ukraine, it is the existence of illegal gambling halls and platforms that continue to function even during the war. Unlike legal gambling operators, they are not interested in providing quality services to players and do not worry about their safety. On the contrary, they create all the conditions for a person to play more and lose more. Such a fraudulent approach leads to the spread of gaming addiction.

Followers of the theory that the legalization of gambling leads to the spread of gambling addiction should understand one very simple thesis: legal gambling is about entertainment, service and spending quality time, while illegal gambling is about fraud against players and the desire to make money in any way possible. Therefore, in order to effectively combat those minor manifestations of gambling addiction that still exist in Ukraine, it is necessary to prevent the work of illegals by all means.


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