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Ukraine’s parliament voted to dissolve its gambling regulator yesterday (24 April) as part of a suite of new reforms.

Bill 9256d proposes to dissolve the Commission for Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries (KRAIL) and hand its regulatory brief to the Digital Transformation Ministry.

The proposed legislation, which received 272 of 450 possible votes, will need to pass a second reading and be signed by the president to become law.

It follows a public debate in Ukraine about problem gambling following submission of a petition last month that highlighted addiction amongst military servicemen.

The dissolution of KRAIL follows on from a scandal in 2022 when the regulator was found to have licensed 1XBet despite its links to Russia.

Increased advertising restrictions are present in the legislation, including a ban on linking gambling to Ukraine’s war against the Russian Federation.

Operators are barred from using images of members of the armed forces in their gambling advertising. All gambling sponsorship would be banned under the new regulations.

The bill also includes language banning military personnel from entering gambling establishments during the period of martial law.

Ukraine legislators promise black market crackdown

Legislators have promised restrictions will be paired with increased action against the black market.

Deputy Yaroslav Zhelezniak said: “All this will work only if simultaneously with an effective fight against the black market.

“Otherwise, restrictions may push sections of people into the illegal market, which is not the purpose of the law. Therefore, we will issue further regulations to limit payment methods.”

Pawn shops would be barred from accepting drones, thermal images and other possible military equipment.

This follows 56th Brigade soldier Pavlo Petrychenko’s petition, which alleged some military personnel were selling equipment to fund their gambling spend.

Petrychenk said in the petition: “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 law features measures similar to those included in President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s 20 April decree.

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