Government data on problem gambling is flawed, dated, and should not be used as basis for policy - Louise O'Reilly TD
Speaking this evening Sinn Fein Health spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD has said the Gambling Results of the 2014/15 Drugs Prevalence Survey published today should not be used as an accurate basis for future policy formation.
The Dublin Fingal TD stated that the results are flawed, dated, at variance with new evidence and anecdotal evidence.
Teachta O’Reilly stated:
“We have waited years for the eventual publication of this report and its arrival is far from satisfactory.
"I consider it to be flawed, dated, at variance with new evidence and anecdotal evidence and cannot be used in good faith as an accurate basis for policy formation.
“It is laughable that the government used different criteria to assess and identify the scale of problem gambling to that used in two separate gambling prevalence surveys for the north of Ireland and used by the British Gambling Commission.
“Is the government honestly saying that the problem gambling rate in Dundalk is 0.8%, but the problem gambling rate in Newry is 2.3%?
“Two separate gambling prevalence surveys carried out for the north of Ireland produced similar results identifying a problem gambling rate of over 2%, now the government here wants us to believe that on the other side of an invisible line, the problem is 0.8%.
“We’re talking about identical products, identical people, identical cultures and the government believe that the situation dramatically changes once you cross the border - it beggars belief.
“We need a dedicated problem gambling survey with a straight comparison with the north, with Scotland, with Wales, and with England. What has been done here is ridiculous and it cannot be used as an accurate basis for future policy direction to tackle problem gambling.
“Furthermore, the data that here is nearly five years old and that is not a good enough base policy formation either.
“The south of Ireland has the highest online gambling losses in the world per capita and the third highest gambling losses overall per capita - but Fine Gael want us to believe it is not a problem.
“We need to see a dedicated gambling prevalence survey so we can understand the scale of the problem not what has been thrown out to us today.”