Gambling ads should be banned - Labour

Gambling ads should be banned - Labour

In 2019, Ireland had the seventh highest gambling spend in the world at €9.8 billion

The Labour Party is putting forward proposals to stop gambling companies advertising in Ireland, saying the hidden epidemic of gambling is “poisoning” families.

It's published draft legislation aims to ban gambling ads across the media, on public transport, billboards and online outlets.

In 2019, Ireland had the seventh highest gambling spend in the world at €9.8 billion. According to Labour Senator Mark Wall, the party wants to see gambling addiction treated as a public health issue.

“Our legislation to #BeatTheAds will prevent unnecessary encouragement of gambling – banning all gambling ads across the media, on public transport, billboards and online outlets.

“The gambling industry has worked particularly hard to create a strong link in our minds between major sports events and betting. Watching a match, we are bombarded with reminders to download gambling apps, or put a few bob on the score,” he said.

Mr Wall said the party has received complaints from parents coming across gambling ads while remote learning with their children: “While people are homeschooling their children during the day they’re faced with gambling ads and their children are asking them what these various companies are offering. That is totally unacceptable in this day and age.” 

The College of Psychiatrists says gambling disorders are a fast-growing public health issue and it's positive to see politicians taking action.

Discussing advertising standards, Professor Colin O’Gara, Consultant Addictions Psychiatrist specialising in the area of gambling addiction says:

“Much like tobacco, in ten years I think we will look back on the proliferation of gambling advertising in sport and entertainment and ask ourselves how we let it get so out of control. Currently, gambling advertising in Ireland is much too common and, critically, occurs before the adult television watershed.”

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