Ukraine to limit rights of problem gamblers
Problem gamblers

Ukrainian politicians are concerned about the country’s ever rising number of gamblers and are looking at legislative options to address the problem.

Ukraine’s Parliament, The Verkhovna Rada, officially proposed to restrict the rights of gamblers whom the government deems as being addicted. Both online players and land based casino aficionados such as blackjack card games players whom the government classifies as being ‘addicted’, will lose their civil rights and could be forced into psychiatric hospitals. The proposed bill was put forward by Yuri Odarchenko, a prominent politician affiliated with the Yulia Tymoshenko political party.

The bill proposes to amend the Civil Code of Ukraine to restrict the civil rights of gamblers who are defined as mentally unstable due to excessive gambling. The bill will contain an “abuse of gambling” clause which defines a gambling addict as ‘a person who spends a considerable part of his/her earnings on gambling, sells property, thereby worsening their financial situation and that of their loved ones.’

The bill will prevent persons classified as gambling addicts from selling their property without permission from a trustee. In order to restore their civil rights, gamblers would require a decision by a court (to prove that the citizen in question is no longer a problem gambler).

The author of the bill notes that among the inhabitants of Ukraine, blackjack and other casino games are very popular, however few players know even the basic blackjack rules. Thus they begin to lose considerable amounts of money and strapped for funds, resort to selling property or begin to borrow money and go into debt.

According to the Civil Code of Ukraine (Article 36), a person’s legal capacity may be limited in the event that he suffers from mental illness or abuse of alcohol and drugs.

An official ban on the gaming business is in force since 2009 in Ukraine. However, a significant number of underground gambling facilities still exist in the country. In the spring of 2010, contrary to the prohibition, a “Premier Palace” casino was officially opened in Kiev (the owner managed to prove in court that its activity is legal).

Around the same time the Ukrainian government said it plans to open several casinos in the Crimea province, to sell licenses and gain revenue that is badly needed to finance the upcoming European Soccer Championship in 2012.