In analysing the legal gambling industry in Ukraine, the media is primarily focused on legislation, regulatory policy and taxation. However, the creation of comfortable and secure environment for players is also a basic element of a civilized gambling market. It is important that gamblers know how to protect themselves while gambling and ensure that their rights are respected.
Amid increasing information attacks on the legal gambling market, it is crucial to remember that gamblers’ rights are protected and responsible gambling principles are observed in Ukraine due to legalization.
Prior to legalization of gambling in 2020, it was almost impossible to find information in the media about gambling addiction or that there was a problem with gambling in the country, despite the fact that the market has been illegal since 2009, that is, license fees and taxes were not paid, and responsible gambling principles were not observed. No one cared about protecting gamblers, guaranteeing the payment of winnings, respecting the gamblers’ right to receive reliable information on the games of chance they participate in, etc. For some reason, prior to the legalization, gambling addiction “did not exist”, although clearly the risks of its spread were higher.
That is why today’s statements by “experts” and a number of media that the legalization of gambling has caused the spread of gambling addiction is a clear manipulation. No chance for “half of the country of gamblers”. Based on the survey results, as well as international practice in the fight against gambling addiction, it is an obvious fact.
The problem of gambling addiction is greatly exaggerated by the opponents of the reform. Besides, the gamblers themselves can reduce the risk of falling into a gambling addiction by following a number of simple rules. Such an instruction with recommendations for gamblers was recently prepared by the Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries. Here are a few key recommendations.
1. Ensure that the gambling operator has a license. One may verify the availability of the operator’s license on the CRGL website.
2. Complete the registration procedure in a gambling establishment or on an online platform, provide one’s personal information and verify it with relevant documents. If the gambling operator fails to register and verify a person as a gambler, such an operator is either illegal or violates the specialized law.
3. Learn the rules of a certain game of chance in a gambling establishment or on an online platform. Legal gambling operators must provide such information to gamblers according to the relevant law.
4. Make sure that the gambling establishment complies with responsible gambling principles. In particular, it should inform gamblers that they can establish the betting limit, the number of bets, get help with self-control strategies, etc.
I want to emphasize once again that gambling is, first of all, a form of entertainment that should cause positive emotions. The task of legal gambling operators and the State is to create environment enabling gamblers to perceive gambling as entertainment and control how, where and how much they want to play. By adhering to the above rules, gamblers will be able to effectively guarantee respect for their rights while gambling.
Anton Kuchukhidze, Chairman of the Ukrainian Gambling Council, exclusively for the Ukrainian News