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Ireland has third highest gambling losses in the world – Boylan

10 February, 2017 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Speaking this morning, Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has stated her extreme worry at figures which show that Ireland had the third highest gambling losses in the world, in 2016, per capita.

MEP Boylan said:

“The damage that problem gambling is having on Irish society goes largely unreported. While issues around problem drinking and drug abuse have been tackled in a more head on fashion in recent years, the issue of problem gambling has been relatively ignored by politicians.

“Problem gambling is a huge cause for concern in modern Irish society. Unfortunately, because it is not as visible as other problems, politicians and certain sections of the media seem to think that it is not a pressing matter.

“However, I think it is one of the gravest issues facing Irish society. Recent data from H2 Gambling Capital consultancy and reported in the Economist has shown that Ireland had the third highest gambling losses in the world, per capita, in 2016.

“Lack of regulation in Ireland, particularly of online gambling, has meant that Ireland has now surpassed America in gambling spending per person. 

“As the Gambling Control Bill is gathering dust in Minister Frances Fitzgerald’s office, the issue of problem gambling in Ireland is allowed to fester and grow.

“Reports and statistics like this should be a warning to politicians and society of the dangers of the ineffectual regulation of the gambling industry. Unfortunately, simple ideas such as protecting children and young people by not allowing gambling advertisements to be broadcast before the watershed on television or radio appear beyond the capabilities of the Irish government.

“We cannot be reactionary on this issue, we cannot wait until the problem is tearing society apart at the seams before we act, we need to act now and the Gambling Control Bill needs to be brought forward by Minister Fitzgerald as a matter of urgency.” 

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