Zelensky’s decree against online gambling in Ukraine

Lea Hogg 1 month ago
Zelensky’s decree against online gambling in Ukraine

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine has signed a decree aimed at counteracting the negative effects of online gambling. This move, announced today, proposes a ban on online gambling for the military until the end of martial law.

The decision comes in the wake of increasing public discussions about the negative social impacts of gambling. A petition demanding restrictions on online gambling recently passed the threshold for presidential consideration, highlighting the growing concern among the public. Zelensky’s support for the National Security and Defense Council’s decision comes after his announcement that the government was preparing to tighten control over the online gambling industry in Ukraine. This is a clear indication of the government’s commitment to addressing the issue head-on.

The decree tasks the government with defining restrictions on all forms of gambling advertising. A particular focus will be on ads using the symbols of Ukraine’s Armed Forces and other military formations. This move is likely to significantly reduce the visibility and reach of such advertisements, thereby limiting their influence.

Approach to tackling online gambling

In addition to the advertising restrictions, the decree also includes a large-scale information campaign on the danger of gambling. This campaign will aim to raise public awareness about the risks associated with gambling and provide information on prevention and treatment options. The introduction of an online monitoring system and the blocking of illegal gambling websites are also part of the decree. These measures will help in curbing the accessibility and prevalence of online gambling.

Ukraine’s Security Service has been tasked with examining gambling organizers for compliance with the legislation within two months. This will ensure that all gambling activities are conducted in accordance with the law. The Commander-in-Chief and the leadership of military units are tasked to prohibit military personnel from accessing gambling facilities and online casinos. This is a significant step towards protecting the military personnel from the potential harms of gambling.

In early April, the Parliamentary Finance Committee supported a bill that included the liquidation of the Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries and passing its responsibilities to the Digital Transformation Ministry. This move indicates a shift in the regulatory oversight of the gambling industry.

It’s worth noting that gambling was officially banned in Ukraine in 2009 until its legalization in 2020. In the first two months of 2024, the gambling business in Ukraine paid Hr 2.2 billion ($56 million) in taxes, and Hr 10.4 billion ($267 million) in 2023. These figures underscore the significant financial impact of the gambling industry.

Zelensky’s decree represents a comprehensive and robust approach to tackling the issue of online gambling in Ukraine. It reflects the government’s commitment to protecting its citizens, particularly the military personnel, from the potential harms of gambling.

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