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Zelensky tasks authorities to find solution to online gambling following petition

by Kateryna Denisova March 29, 2024 10:56 PM 2 min read
Slot machines in a casino. Illustrative purposes only. (Sean Murphy/Getty Images)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky tasked Ukrainian authorities to address the prevalence and impact of online gambling after a petition demanding restrictions passed the threshold for presidential consideration within a few hours on March 29.

A petition was registered on the website of the President's Office and has collected a total of 26,041 votes, with 25,000 being the required minimum.

The author of the petition, soldier Pavlo Petrychenko, asked to introduce a bill that, among other things, would ban gambling and access to online casinos for military personnel during martial law.

"For many of them (service personnel), gambling becomes the only way to cope with stress, and therefore quickly causes dopamine addiction and weakens their self-control," Petrychenko wrote.

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The soldier also asked to ban gambling advertising using the symbols of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, as well as any advertising mentioning the provision of charitable assistance to military personnel by gambling market participants.

According to the petition's author, Russian online casinos "can access personal data of the military and other Ukrainians, which threatens national security."

"I have instructed the chief of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), the Special Communications Service, the Digital Transformation Ministry, and the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council to collect all the analytics on this issue and propose a solution next week," Zelensky said in an evening address.

Gambling has been officially banned in Ukraine since 2009 but became legal again in 2020.

In the first two months of 2024, the gambling business in Ukraine paid Hr 2.2 billion ($55.6 million) in taxes, and Hr 10.4 billion ($263.291 million) for the whole of 2023, according to Danylo Hetmantsev, the chairman of the parliamentary Finance Committee.

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