Boylan calls for nationwide gambling awareness campaign
Speaking this morning, Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has said that, given the mounting evidence of the severity of problem gambling in Ireland, particularly amongst young people, the Irish Government must run a gambling addiction awareness campaign.
MEP Boylan said:
“In 2016, Ireland recorded the highest online gambling losses per capita in the world. Such a state of affairs is only possible because of the lack of government regulation of online gambling and the lack of awareness around problem gambling.
“I have referenced these figures compiled by H2 Gambling Capital consultancy on numerous occasions before, however, they have only received limited pick up from a small but committed number of journalists who have an interest in the issue. On a macro level, there has been very little uptake on what is a serious health issue.
“Due to the fact that a gambling prevalence study hasn’t been carried out in the south of Ireland, when estimating the number of problem gamblers we have to rely on figures from the north of Ireland where around 2.3 per cent of the population may have a gambling problem. Therefore, if we were to use such a calculation, we could assume that there are close to 100,000 problem gamblers in the south of Ireland.
“When it comes to young people, the government is especially negligent given there is mounting evidence that problem gambling is rife amongst their generation. Indeed, there is also serious concern for problem gambling amongst women with multi-billion euro companies targeting women through marketing campaigns. For many people the game is no longer the attraction, the gambling is, and yet nothing is been done.
“In conjunction with calling on the Minister for Justice to bring forward the Gambling Control Bill as a matter of urgency, I am also calling on the Minister for Health and the Minister for Education to organise a nationwide problem gambling awareness campaign.
“It might only be a small measure to tackle this huge issue, but it is important that people are made aware of the debilitating nature of this illness and how to get help. The government have money for Leo Varadkar to run an advertisement campaign on social welfare fraud with incorrect figures, so they should have money to fund this enterprise which will save lives.”