Time has come for a ban on gambling ads

Senator Mark Wall
10 February 2022

Labour spokesperson on sport Mark Wall said the research published by the Health Research Board needs to be a wakeup call for government to stop their tokenistic responses and take meaningful action to protect those at risk of gambling addiction.

Senator Wall said:

“The research published by the Health Research Board (HRB) points to a continued lack of action by government on problem gambling. We welcomed government’s announcement of the establishment of a Gambling Regulatory Authority in October, but this research shows there can be no further delay in the enactment of the Authority. It’s clear that gambling addiction remains rife throughout society and that many people, and young men in particular, remain at risk of developing serious and devastating addictions.

“Despite a 20% reduction in gambling overall, the HRB study points to approx. 12,000 problem gamblers and a further 125,000 people who are ‘at-risk’ gamblers. We need to see real intervention from government on this – as well as enacting a Gambling Regulator, I would once again urge government to act on Labour’s bill to ban the ads that target those ‘at-risk’ gamblers and have the potential to ruin lives, devastate their families and communities and leave the person suffering from addiction feeling hopeless.

“As well as the ads on the tv, young people are bombarded with gambling ads on their phones through ads on social media channels and the sheer volume of these ads is having a huge impact on vulnerable people. Labour’s bill would take swift action to protect those at risk of developing addiction. While there’s nothing wrong with the occasional flutter, if it is abused, it can be dangerous and devastating.

“There have been multiple reports on gambling addiction over recent years. Indeed, the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland indicated a concerning rise in gambling disorder referrals since Covid the ‘lockdowns’. Coupled with the HRB report, it’s clear that we need to act fast and put controls in place now to protect those who are vulnerable to behaviour addiction.

“The level of addiction and affliction in communities up and down this country demands serious action. It’s time to see real action from government now.”

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