Anton Kuchukhidze: As a market regulator, the state should continue to actively fight against illegal gambling operators

Legal gambling in Ukraine is only two years old, but there is still a disease associated with the state regulation of the industry and the behavior of market representatives and gamblers. And if political will is required to resolve some issues, then others can be resolved at the level of a gambling company or at a player level.

Analyzing the situation with illegal gambling establishments in Ukraine, one can find an interesting study conducted by the Swedish National Gambling Market Regulator.

As part of the study, more than 1,600 respondents were interviewed about their gambling habits. The results were interesting. 53% of respondents admitted that they understand the benefits of using licensed gambling sites. However, only 10% of respondents said they could distinguish between legal and illegal gambling operators. At the same time, 21% of respondents did not care at all about the availability of a license from gambling operators.

Research shows that in the past few years, there has been a continued low awareness of players on how to distinguish between licensed and unlicensed gambling operators. These are low numbers for the market.

Ukraine, where only about 8% of the adult population gambles, is also facing this negative trend. Gamblers still pay little attention to the legality of gambling establishments and often do not know how to distinguish legal operators from illegal ones.

This suggests two important trends. Firstly, players either have a very poor distinction between legal and illegal gambling operators, or spend little time analyzing their preferred site. Secondly, despite the war, illegal operators continue to operate on the Ukrainian market, especially in the online segment. However, finding a way out of this situation is easier than it seems. It lies in the synergy between countries, licensees and gamblers.

The state, as a market regulator, should continue to actively fight against illegal gambling operators and tighten control over the online segment.

Licensed gambling operators should focus their marketing and advertising campaigns on attracting more players and explaining the benefits of using their services rather than those of illegal operators.

Before choosing a platform, players should check if it is legal. The easiest way to do this is to visit the Gambling and Lottery Regulatory Commission website.

Of course, changing a player’s behavioral habits is a long process. However, if you want to build a civilized gambling market in Ukraine, you must do it. After all, the success of the fight against illegal operators depends on this. The more players understand the advantages of gambling with legal operators and can distinguish them from illegal ones, the less potential customers there will be for illegal operators.
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