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Anton Kuchukhidze: Ukrainian gambling. A test by war

Legal gambling is having yet another test today. In addition to political manipulations and fake news, Ukraine’s new-born legal gambling is at war, along with our country. And it should be noted that so far the industry is passing this test with much success.

For gambling, as for any other economy sector, the war has become a real test of endurance, especially for the land-based sector. However, even under these circumstances, the gambling industry continues to hold on, show resilience and a proactive approach to meeting the challenges faced by the State and its economy. Legal gambling companies are not only trying to save their businesses and jobs, but are actively supporting the army and civilians.

That is why today we talk not only about business performance, but also about the value-based principles followed by this industry. They may be divided into two major components:
– public,
– economic.

Public sector
CRGL, as a state body, continues the policy adopted by the official authorities regarding pressure on russia and its isolation. Recently, the Commission officially called on international partners to refrain from any cooperation with russia and emphasized that any economic relations with the aggressor state will be regarded as the financing of international terrorism.

If this body had not been created by a specialized law in 2020, would any public authority regulating the industry try to deprive russia of investments in the gambling industry today? Apparently not. That is, CRGL, like any other part of the state machinery, protects state interests and consistently supports the policy of russia’s total economic isolation.

Economic sector
Not only the state regulator, but also legal gambling representatives demonstrated their clear position regarding the war. Before the war, the sector faced an incredible amount of lies and provocations. One cannot imagine all the evil that gambling was compared to between 2009 and 2020, as well as all the sins of which it was accused. Following legalization, the situation was further intensified. Some populists and the so called “experts” decided to gain popularity by bad-mouthing legal gambling, manipulating information, distorting facts and emphasizing that the legalization of gambling can only lead to the massive spread of gambling addiction.

However, we all realize that war makes it clear who is who. Gambling business, for instance, silenced all critics and today through its deeds it demonstrates its willingness to participate in protecting state interests when the country is in trouble. We should also mention that none of the Ukrainian Gambling Council members talks about being apolitical and distancing legal gambling from war and political processes. Each company helps the State in its fight against the aggressor as best it can.

To be perfectly honest, when there was no war, this sector did not engage in politics. However, when it became necessary, gambling clearly demonstrated, through its actions, that it can defend the country on its own level.

While illegal gambling is opening the doors of its pseudo-establishments and sends invitations to gamblers through all possible communication channels in order to make money, legal gaming companies spend tens of millions of hryvnias trying to help the State and Ukrainians, as well as create mechanisms to raise money for the State at various international levels. Illegal business once again proves itself to be a cancer destroying society, although the lack of public discussion of illegal market participants during war is weird. Feel the difference, as they say.

To sum up, the analysis of the wartime period shows that legal gambling is an extremely interesting political case of how a non-political sector plays its part in defending the country.

Anton Kuchukhidze, Chairman of the Ukrainian Gambling Council, exclusively for the Ukrainian News
Anton Kuchukhidze