Banning ads vital next step in ending problem gambling

Senator Mark Wall
08 September 2022

Welcoming the appointment of a new CEO Designate of the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland Labour sports spokesperson Mark Wall said a ban on gambling ads is the most vital next step to protect problem gamblers.

Senator Wall said:

“I welcome the appointment of the new CEO Designate of the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland. It is an important step forward. However, I am sceptical about how effective the appointment will be in immediately ending the toxic targeting carried out by gambling companies.

“We now need to see political ambition to support and protect problem gamblers. Last year, Labour introduced a bill to ban gambling ads. Problem gambling is not going away and we need to do more to end the rot spread by the industry.

“In July, Cuan Mhuire reported a rise in gambling addiction. Research published earlier this year by the Health Research Board (HRB) indicates that there are approximately 12,000 problem gamblers in Ireland and a further 125,000 people who are ‘at-risk’ gamblers. If government doesn’t step in to counteract the gambling industry, it is inevitable that problem gambling will continue to rise.

“Since I introduced legislation to ban gambling ads in April 2021, our offices have been inundated with families getting in touch, telling their stories and supporting our call for a blanket ban on ads. We need to put controls in place now to protect those who are vulnerable to behaviour addiction. Government has a real opportunity to be global leaders in this space if they just have the ambition to do so.

“It has been an exceptional period of flux for these companies that have had to adapt to the changes in people’s behaviour during Covid, and they did so expertly. There has been a phenomenal increase in online ads, on social media, on YouTube, on the TV. We need to counteract this and break the hold of these companies over vulnerable people.”

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