Ukraine Gambling Still a Problem Despite Ban
After Ukraine banned the gambling business last year, casino and gambling hall signs virtually disappeared from the country. But in their wake emerged online clubs and sport bars. There you can play the same roulette or poker. The only difference… now it’s on the Internet.
These clubs are located near every metro station in Kyiv. Before there were gambling machines in the clubs. Now they’ve been replaced with computers connected to a global gambling network.
It seems that little has changed since the anti-gambling legislation was passed in June 2009. Experts say the number of Ukrainians with a gambling addiction remains high.
[Yurii Pakin, Gambling Addiction Specialist]:
"In our clinic the number of clients with excessive gambling is sizable. So we can see that this problem exists.”
Former owners of gambling establishments say the only way to get Internet clubs under control is to legalize gambling once again. They want the government to allow casinos in hotels under strict controls.
[Grigory Tripulskiy, Vice President, Ukrainian Gambling Association]:
“In this case those Internet clubs will disappear. And there is another way: to ban the Internet.”
Some Members of Parliament are not convinced that the idea will work.
[Yurii Prokopchuk, Member of Parliament]:
“I think it can be called a crime if the legislation will be adopted like this. I heard in my committee about young people who became addicted to the gambling games like drug addicts. They sell everything from their homes and even commit suicide.”
[Yevgenii Tsarkov, Member of Parliament]:
“I have a suspicion that the representatives from Region Party and Yulia Tymoshenko Party want to lobby this business.”
It is still unknown whether the legislation will be adopted, but the problem of excessive gambling remains.
NTD News, Kyiv, Ukraine.