Ukraine to Take Rights from Problem Gamblers

The Ukrainian Parliament has proposed a bill that would strip problem gamblers of certain rights to protect them from themselves. If it becomes law, people the government deems to be gambling addicts will not have total control over their finances.

The current Civil Code of Ukraine, the government can limit a person’s legal capacity if they are deemed to suffer from mental illness or abuse alcohol or drugs. The current bill in Parliament would amend that code to include those who suffer from an “abuse of gambling.” The law would define someone as a gambling addict if they spend “a considerable part of his/her earnings on gambling, sells property, thereby worsening their financial situation and that of their loved ones.”

If someone is deemed under the Civil Code to be a gambling addict, they would not be able to sell their own property without permission from a trustee. In order to have those civil rights restored, the person would have to prove in court that they are no longer a problem gambler.

The bill was proposed by Yuri Odarchenko, an influential politician in the Yulia Tymoshenko party. The bill has not yet reached a vote. The Ukraine passed a law banning gambling in 2009, but a number of gambling businesses still exist in the country. In 2010, a Premier Palace Casino even went to court and proved that its business is legal. The Ukrainian government is also planning to liberalize its gambling market, begin issuing licenses for casinos, and open several casinos in the Crimea province.

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