Zelenskyy positively responds to a petition calling to ban online casinos during martial law

Zelenskyy positively responds to a petition calling to ban online casinos during martial law
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The petition’s author was a serviceman from the 59th Brigade, Pavlo Petrychenko. According to the petition, online casinos negatively influence some soldiers who lose large sums of money there amid high stress.

According to Ukraine’s National Bank, Ukrainians spent nearly UAH 150 billion ($3.9 billion) in gambling in 2023. Not all this sum was lost, of course, but only the declared profit of casinos was UAH 6.9 billion ($180 million), while the real profit is estimated to be significantly higher.

A large part of gamers includes soldiers, who receive high salaries but are psychologically vulnerable due to stress and don’t have where to spend money on the frontline.

Military personnel have been away from their families for the third year, in stressful conditions and without the possibility of full rest, so they are especially 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. The cases when game-addicted servicemen spend all their income on games and take microloans are not rare. This leads to putting themselves and their families in a “debt trap” or pawning drones and thermal imagers, thereby harming not only themselves but also their comrades,” the author of the petition, serviceman from the 59th Brigade Pavlo Petrychenko, wrote.

After Ukrainians supported the petition in a record term, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy instructed officials to gather analytical data on the prevalence and impact of online gambling platforms on Ukrainian society and propose solutions in response to a petition.

In his evening video address, Zelenskyy stated that he had tasked 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 with providing him with comprehensive analytics on the issue and proposing solutions by next week.

The petition calls for President Zelenskyy to initiate a bill that would prohibit gambling and access to online casinos for military personnel during martial law. It also proposes banning the advertising of gambling using the symbols of the Armed Forces of Ukraine or any related symbols or objects associated with war and the army.

Furthermore, the petition suggests prohibiting charitable foundations from collaborating with gambling market participants and banning military units from accepting property as charitable assistance from gambling market participants. Additionally, it emphasizes the need to oblige Internet providers and mobile operators to block websites of illegal casinos.