Amid rising expenditures

Ukraine's National Bank implements credit gambling ban

Reading time 1:09 min

The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) has enacted a prohibition on the use of credit funds for gambling purposes, as announced by the NBU's press service. The bank said the regulatory measure aims to safeguard the stability and security of Ukraine's financial system while mitigating potential adverse impacts associated with online gambling.

By restricting the use of credit for gambling activities, the NBU said it seeks to curb potential financial risks to consumers posed by excessive gambling behavior and its implications for borrowers.

In July 2020, the Ukrainian Parliament, known as the Verkhovna Rada, legalized various forms of gambling, including casinos, online bookmakers, slot machine halls, and online poker. This legislative move paved the way for the establishment of the Gambling and Lottery Regulatory Commission (GLRC), tasked with overseeing and licensing gambling operations nationwide.

The gambling sector in Ukraine has grown since legalization, with reports indicating substantial daily expenditures in online casinos. According to Economic Truth, Ukrainians were spending nearly 400 million hryvnias ($9.84 million) per day on online gambling in 2023.

However, the proliferation of online gambling has raised concerns, particularly among military personnel who are believed to be disproportionately affected by gambling addiction.

These concerns led to widespread discussions within Ukrainian society, prompting President Volodymyr Zelensky to issue a decree on April 20 imposing restrictions on online casino operations and specifically banning military personnel from participating.

The decision to implement stricter regulations was partly driven by a petition filed by Ukrainian serviceman Pavlo Petrychenko. Petrychenko's petition highlighted that some soldiers stationed on the front lines were not only engaging in online gambling but also resorting to measures such as taking out loans and even pawning military equipment to cover their gambling debts. 

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