Zelenskyy orders analysis on online casino restrictions following petition

Zelenskyy orders analysis on online casino restrictions following petition
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has directed law enforcement agencies and ministries to conduct an analysis of the issue of online gambling and propose potential solutions in response to a public petition urging restrictions on online casinos due to concerns about their adverse effects on soldiers and society.

Responding to a petition advocating for limitations on online casinos, President Zelenskyy has tasked key governmental bodies with gathering data and formulating recommendations. In his address, Zelenskyy outlined instructions for the Security Service of Ukraine, the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection, the Ministry of Digital Transformation, and the National Security and Defense Council to undertake comprehensive analytics and present proposals by next week.

"Today, a petition on the topic of casinos - online gambling platforms - has quickly gathered the necessary votes. It's about how widespread it is and how it affects a part of society. I have instructed the head of the Security Service of Ukraine, the State Special Communications Service, the Ministry of Digital Transformation and the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council to collect all the analytics on this issue and propose a solution next week," stated Zelenskyy.

The petition for online casino restrictions gained traction following revelations by Pavlo Petrychenko, a junior sergeant with the 59th separate motorized infantry brigade, who highlighted the issue of gambling addiction among military personnel. Petrychenko, the petitioner, emphasized the detrimental impact of gambling on soldiers' well-being and urged for immediate action to mitigate its effects.

"I, Pavlo Petrychenko, a soldier of the 59th Brigade, would like to draw your attention to the harm that gambling causes to the Ukrainian army and Ukrainian society. For three years now, soldiers have been away from their families, in stressful conditions and without the possibility of proper rest, so they are particularly psychologically vulnerable. For many of them, gambling becomes the only way to cope with stress, and therefore quickly causes dopamine addiction and weakens their self-control. It is not uncommon for gambling addicts to spend their entire allowance on gambling and take out microloans, thus putting themselves and their families in a "debt pit", or pawn drones and thermal imagers, thus harming not only themselves but also their fellow soldiers," the petition said.

In response to Petrychenko's petition, which garnered over 25,000 votes in a single day, calls were made to ban gambling advertising featuring symbols associated with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, prohibit military units from accepting charitable aid from gambling market participants, and restrict the involvement of charitable foundations with gambling entities.

The Verkhovna Rada Committee on Finance, Taxation and Customs Policy recently supported a government draft law aiming to dissolve the Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries.