Sinn Féin launch Gambling Policy to modernise ‘dark age’ regulations – Thomas Gould TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Addiction, Recovery and Wellbeing Thomas Gould TD has today launched the party’s Gambling Policy in the south.
Speaking at the launch, Teachta Gould said:
“Gambling addiction damages the lives of far too many people across Ireland every single day. Despite this, the government is failing in its duty to protect people who experience gambling addiction and support those who seek help.
“Current legislation is decades out of date and has failed to keep pace with the online world. As a result, our young people in particular are being exposed to often predatory forms of online advertising and gambling which should be regulated.
“Today I’m proud to be publishing a detailed policy document outlining how regulations can be modernised and made fit-for-purpose to tackle problem gambling in 2021. I am urging the government to act on my policies and ensure they are introduced without delay. The government must show leadership here and give the issue of gambling addiction the attention it deserves.
“The government have given a commitment to bring forward a Gambling Control Bill by the end of Q3 this year. They’ve also now promised to appoint a Gambling Regulator by the end of the year.
“It is wonderful to hear progress is being made on the issue of gambling but we have to remember that the first Gambling Control Bill was published in 2013 and has sat gathering dust since.
“In the meantime people, particularly those in recovery and young people, are suffering because of a lack of action. This isn’t acceptable.
“They’re bombarded with gambling advertising on social media, during sports matches and while watching television. Young people can sign up to online gambling without any age verification for often a 72 hour window.
“We have some of the highest problem gambling rates in 15-16 year olds in Europe. There are over 55,000 people with a severe gambling disorder in this state. For these people, we need to act now.
“This policy would see real regulation on advertising, a social fund to support gambling addiction services, a ban on gambling with credit cards and other real protections for those harmed by gambling.
“I intend to introduce legislation this year that will see credit cards banned in gambling. It is vitally important that people cannot gamble with money they don’t have.
“It is time we got serious about this. Over 55,000 people suffering in this state deserve better. Young people deserve better.
“Sinn Fein have a plan that would take gambling regulation in this state from the dark ages and make gambling addiction a public health concern. It’s time to show leadership and to act. The solutions are there if the political will is there.”