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Louise O’Reilly TD calls for more to be done to tackle problem gambling

14 February, 2018 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Speaking this afternoon Sinn Fein health spokesperson Deputy Louise O’Reilly has called on the Government to do more to tackle problem gambling in society.

Teachta O’Reilly said:

“Problem gambling is a serious health issue and it has clearly developed into a significant social issue right under the noses of Government and our health services. 

“People across our communities and some in the media are already aware of the seriousness of this issue, unfortunately, because it is not as visible as other problems politicians seem to think that it is not a pressing matter.

“Lack of regulation, particularly of online gambling, has meant that the south of Ireland has the highest online gambling losses in the world per capita and the third highest gambling losses overall per capita.

“Last year the National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol published Bulletin 1 of a report on the 'Prevalence of Drug Use and Gambling in Ireland and Drug Use in Northern Ireland'.

“It found that over 1 in 4 men aged 15-24 and nearly 1 in 5 women in the same age bracket had gambled in the last month. In the 25-34 age category 1 in 2 men had gambled in the month and 34.6% of women had.

“Data from H2 Gambling Capital consultancy reported in the Economist showed how Irish people lose around €2.2 billion a year gambling.

“Considering the number of people out there who don’t gamble one would deduce that there are a number of problem gamblers losing a considerable amount of money per year.

“By far the most vulnerable group are children and young people. 

"Aggressive marketing in recent years combined with the advent of online gambling on smart phones has meant that young people are more susceptible than ever to underage gambling and developing problem gambling habits.

“All the while it is left to individuals, to society, to charities, and some in the media to offer help, to challenge the issue, and shine a light on problem gambling and gambling in general.

“The Gambling Control Bill which seeks to address many issues around gambling and regulation has been gathering dust since 2013. We need to see serious urgency on this issue before the scale of the problem explodes even further."

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