Within the Ukrainian Gambling Council, we conducted the first independent public opinion survey, which showed that 43.2% of Ukrainians support one or more arguments in favor of gambling legalization. It means that the level of support of gambling legalization by the population is much higher than it was commonly believed.
Within the framework of the research conducted by the sociological company Info Sapience, we found out that to a certain degree, almost half of Ukrainians see the point in gambling legalization. At the same time, the level of support remains within 40-50% for all age groups. These results show that the data that over 80% of Ukrainians strongly oppose gambling is fake.
This discrepancy in numbers is understandable if you look at the approach applied within previous studies. The data that the population does not support gambling was collected in the framework of sociological research, where its legalization was put on the same line with the legalization of prostitution and marijuana. This approach is initially manipulative since deliberately creates a negative emotional background for respondents by linking the topic of legal gambling with illegal issues of prostitution and soft drugs.
As part of our study, the respondents were given arguments based on the current legislation. Thus, we wanted to assess the level of support for the legalization of gambling by the population, as well as to understand what is most important for citizens in the reform itself.
Given the complex nature and demonization of the gambling industry over the past 11-12 years, I can boldly say that 43.2% is a quite high level of support. It is also interesting to see which arguments received most of the positive feedback.
1. Persons under the age of 21 are prohibited from gambling - 70.8%.
2. Revenues from license payments for online casinos and online poker are directed to support medicine - 70.6%.
3. In 2021, the state budget received over 1 billion hryvnias from license fees of gambling operators - 67.6%.
4. Income from bookmaking license payments is directed to support sports - 63.7%.
5. Bookmaker companies sponsor the sports industry: football, hockey, basketball, and other sports - 63.2%.
What conclusions can we draw based on the most popular arguments among the respondents?
In my opinion, the results of this study provide at least three important insights.
1. The reform to legalize gambling was strategically correct. Almost 70% of respondents who support legalization want the industry to be strictly regulated and the state budget to be filled through the taxation of gambling.
2. The respondents who support legalization look at this process pragmatically and perfectly understand the positive economic effect that the development of the legal gambling sector has on the Ukrainian economy.
3. The population is interested that the money generated by the legal gambling industry is reinvested in important social spheres - medicine, development of sports, social responsibility projects, etc.
The systematic conduct of such studies is extremely important for the formation of a modern civilized gambling market in Ukraine. Such "measurements" of public opinion serve as a reliable source of information for all market representatives and enable better adaptation of its development to the needs of the population.