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The problem of gambling addiction does not exist in Ukraine

Formation of a full-fledged legal gambling market in Ukraine began less than three years ago, when the Law of Ukraine "On State Regulation of Activities on the Organization and Conduct of Gambling" adopted in July 2020 entered into force. This document defined the general model of the functioning of domestic gambling sector and formed a set of obligations for all legal organizers of gambling, in particular, regarding obtaining a license to operate and compliance with certain standards and principles of the responsible gaming. State supervision of the gambling market was entrusted to the national regulator, the Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries.

Since that time, the budget started to receive revenues from taxes and license fees of the gambling market, missing the pockets of corrupt officials. That is why the process of legalizing gambling in Ukraine after more than eleven years of legislative prohibition of the organization of all kinds of gambling, except lotteries, causes furious opposition from both illegal gambling businesses, political figures and officials who have been making money on the corruption revenue from the "shadow market" for many years.

In the media sector, this opposition is characterized by the regular appearance of various planted stories that exploit myths about imaginary troubles that can supposedly be caused by the operation of legal gambling establishments. Perhaps the most popular myth is about the rapid growth of ludomania (gambling addiction) among Ukrainians: "instead of working, everyone will immediately start playing and lose everything: salary, savings, real estate, etc. Pensioners will lose their pensions, and students will lose their scholarships."

Such problems actually do not exist in Ukraine. This is clearly proven by opinion polls on the attitude of Ukrainians to gambling, which were conducted from 2021 to 2022 (before the full-scale invasion of the Ruszists) with the assistance of the Ukrainian Gambling Council. According to these polls, the majority of our citizens (more than 92%) have never gambled and do not intend to do so. Only about 8% of respondents expressed a desire to play in the future. That is, the level of gambling among the population, which is a basic prerequisite for the appearance of gambling addiction, is extremely low.

In addition, about a third of the respondents (32.9%) are well aware of or have seen the information about state programs to combat gambling addiction. This means that the number of those who are interested in how the state plans to combat the development of gambling addiction 4.5(!) times exceeds the number of those who is potentially interested in in gambling. Such a high level of prudence and a rational attitude to playing once again proves that Ukrainians are not a very gambling nation and the gambling for them is mainly one of the types of entertainment.

If you look at the statistics provided by the Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries regarding the number of people in the Register of persons with restricted access to gambling establishments and/or restricted participation in gambling, it turns out that since the beginning of its operation, information about 450 people has been entered there, in particular only about 315 for the whole 2022!

I would like to remind you that according to the effective legislation, it is possible to limit a person's participation in gambling through entry in the Register:

- Independently by submitting an application to the Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries.

- Based on a substantiated application of family members or legal representatives of the person.

- By court decision.

These mechanisms are enough to actually determine the number of people with gambling addiction that were detected since the legalization of the gambling business. Less than half a thousand for the whole time. Compared to the fact that we have almost 30 million people who are legally allowed to gamble (from 21 years old and older), 315 people with gambling addiction per year is not even a statistical error, it is far less. That is, gambling as a problem does not exist in Ukraine!


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