Gambling is an addiction and it needs to be treated like smoking, alcohol and other behavioural addictions.
These ads seek out and target vulnerable people in society, preying on problem gamblers. The isolation associated with Covid lockdowns has increased problem gambling throughout the country, with the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland noting a concerning rise in gambling disorder referrals.
Research carried out by the Labour Party indicates that three in every four of us know at least one person with a gambling addiction. To protect these people and to end the cycle of the industry recruiting potential addicts, we need to break ties once and for all with the manipulation of gambling through advertising.
We have a real opportunity to be global leaders in this space if we just have the ambition to do so. When a ban on smoking indoors was first smoking people never thought it would happen, but now we can go to pubs, restaurants and businesses without risking our lung health. All it took was political will.
There’s nothing wrong with an occasional flutter, we just need to break the cycle of problem gambling and #BeatTheAds. Let’s end this silent scourge and take back control from the industry.