Labour demands full ban of gambling ads

Senator Mark Wall
28 March 2023

Labour sports spokesperson Mark Wall has demanded Government be more ambitious in its proposed regulation of the gambling sector in Ireland, calling for a full ban of gambling advertisements.

With Red C polling in the Business Post showing clear public support for such a measure, Senator Wall said a ban on ads is the right thing to do to protect those vulnerable to a gambling addiction and stop young people gambling.

Senator Wall said:

“I am calling on Government to go the full way by implementing Labour’s Bill to ban gambling ads. The government’s new gambling control bill will impose a ban on all gambling advertising between 5.30am and 9pm, but we need to see more ambition and go the full way.

“Unfortunately for those experiencing gambling addition, this does not go away after 9pm. From the moment we get up in the morning to the moment we go to sleep at night, the gambling companies know they have us in their grip.

“You can’t look at a video on YouTube without being directed to gamble, you can’t use a free app on your phone without facing these ads. We need a full ban to take back the control these companies have over us.

“The gambling industry has worked hard to create a strong link in our minds between major sports events and betting. Problem gambling is a behavioural addiction which is what these ads feed off of. These ads are pushing people to gamble and there are no controls in place to protect those who are vulnerable to addiction.

“I was so impressed by the brave move taken by Belgium in recent weeks to implement a full ban on gambling ads from July. I am putting it up to Government to be brave enough to take on the gambling companies and do the right thing for people through a full ban on ads.

“Doing so now will aid those vulnerable to addiction but also lead to a mind shift in how the younger generations experience the enjoyment of sports, entertainment and even politics. According to recent research conducted by the ESRI, 9.3% of young people (aged 17-20) have taken part in online gambling with 7.2% of them are ‘regularly’ gambling. There’s no doubt that the ads are pushing this behaviour.

“The level of addiction and affliction in communities up and down this country demands serious action. We had this argument around the tobacco. Time is ticking. Let’s follow the Belgian lead and ban gambling ads in Ireland.”

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