Body calls for gambling regulation as study finds people start betting as young as 14

There are calls for the Government to establish a regulatory body to protect people from the dangers of gambling.

Teenagers as young as 14 are betting in bookie shops, according to the head of Problem Gambling Ireland.

The Rutland Centre also say that around 12% of Irish adults bet with a bookmaker on a weekly basis.

It comes as Paddy Power Betfair has been fined £2.2m by the UK's betting watchdog for not protecting customers who were showing signs of problem gambling.

According to a 2015 UCD study, between 28,000 and 40,000 people in Ireland suffer from a betting disorder.

The CEO of Problem Gambling Ireland, Barry Grant, says some people experience a gradual progression towards addiction.

"Normally they would be adults but they could be in their early 20s, quite often though at that point they have been gambling since they were 14 or 15."

"Quite often a lot of young men, in particular, would start at that age, maybe doing the odd football accumulator in the bookies and then moving on to online, and then getting into a place where they are gambling all hours of the day or night," Mr Grant said.

Mr Grant said it is now easier than ever to develop an addiction.

He said: "It's very easy. We're the biggest online gamblers on the planet, we are also the biggest mobile internet users on the planet, so when you combine those two things, it's very easy to develop a gambling problem very quickly."

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