President's proposal to ban gambling ads in sport not practical, says bookmakers

Update 4.20pm: Bookmakers say a proposal by the President to ban gambling ads in sport is not practical.

President Michael D Higgins.

Michael D Higgins has raised concerns about the impact of gambling - and says the industry should not be allowed to advertise at sporting events.

He has also called for more education to address the issue but admits education alone will not solve the problem.

Sharon Byrne, chair of the Irish Bookmakers Association, says they are taking steps to combat addiction.

She said:

I believe that gambling for the vast majority of people is an enjoyable, leisure activity but for a small percentage it can become a problem and as a responsible industry it is up to us to ensure that we have adequate services available and that people are aware of those services if gambling is becoming an issue.

Earlier: Banning gambling ads in sport needs to be part of wider approach to tackling addiction - Fianna Fáil

Banning gambling ads in sport needs to be part of a wider approach to tackling addiction, according to Fianna Fáil.

Yesterday, President Michael D Higgins raised concerns about the influence of gambling and suggested a ban on industry advertising during sporting events.

Anne Rabbitte Fianna Fáil.

He called for legislation on the issue and said education is just one part of the solution.

Anne Rabbitte from Fianna Fáil - who have proposed tougher laws in the area - says gambling and sport are too closely linked.

He said: "We are after watching the recent World Cup in soccer and every time there was an ad break you were bombarded with the advertising recruiting people to use the online gambling mechanism and promote gambling which is very unfair.

"As President Higgins said himself, there are people who actually have an addiction within the sporting sphere that are being targetted."

- Digital Desk

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