Government urged to ban free bets as part of new gambling regulations

Spot checks at bookies and online intervention are some of the measures that are being proposed to help control gambling.

A gambling authority is to be established, together with a regulator to monitor the industry.

Irish people are the biggest betters in Europe and it is estimated for every person that has a problem with gambling, around 10 people in their lives are negatively affected.

Barry Grant from Problem Gambling Ireland says that we urgently need to look at how gambling is advertised.

"If you’re watching soccer, in particular, it’s non-stop, around social media it’s non-stop," he said.

"Certainly one of the areas within advertising and marketing that we would like to see the regulator focus on is free bets.

"if you compare it to alcohol and other potentially addictive over-18s products, we would never allow alcohol producers to hand out free drink vouchers, but we regularly allow the gambling industry to give out free bets."

- Digital desk


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