Irish Labour Party reveals new Bill to put an end to gambling advertising

Irish Labour Party reveals new Bill to put an end to gambling advertising

Irish Labour Party reveals new Bill to put an end to gambling advertising

The Irish Labour Party has revealed a new Bill regarding a ban on gambling advertisements after many sporting bodies also called for the same thing. If this Bill is passed, it would mean that there will be a ban on all gambling advertising in Ireland, which further leads to the gaming industry being separated from the sports sector.

Labour Party’s Spokesperson for Sport, Senator Mark Wall, stated:

Gambling addiction is a silent scourge across the nation, which is why the Labour Party has published legislation to address this national problem. In 2019, Ireland had the 7th highest gambling spend in the world at €9.8 billion (or €379.51 per head). 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. In broadcast media alone, 75.4% of sporting broadcasts show at least one gambling advertisement. In fact, gambling ads are the most common during sporting events televised in Ireland, and the 7th most common form of ad shown in general.

This decision comes not long after calls were made for bans on certain advertisements by two leading sporting authorities in the country, which are the Gaelic Players’ Association (GPA) and the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). Both of these authorities have imposed their very own separate bans  on gambling advertisements in Gaelic football and hurling. Jennifer Rogers from the GPA mentioned that the association is hoping for stricter regulations and rules.

Community and Health Manager of the GAA Colin Regan also stated that the teamwork between the multiple sporting bodies in Ireland as well as the intervention of the government will surely bring an end to gambling advertising within the territory.

The Senator further mentioned:

This legislation is more important now than ever. There have been big changes in recent years in the ease with which people can gamble due to our  smartphones. Whereas previously there was some limit to the damage that could be caused as a result of people having to go to betting shops, now anyone can gamble any amount of money on their phone in an instant. The stresses of COVID-19 have challenged the resilience and coping strategies of us all but particularly individuals with addictions who are finding it even harder to continue in their recovery and avoid relapse.

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Labour Party Deputy and Teachta Dála, also commented and said: 

Gambling is an addiction and it should be treated as such. We’re introducing legislation to ban the manipulation carried out by the industry which is one step forward in addressing this issue. This should be treated as a public health issue and we need to ensure that there are adequate supports in place to help those suffering from addiction. In addition to the GPA and GAA, the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland has also called for an ‘urgent ban’ on gambling advertising. In its Gambling Disorder Position paper, the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland notes anecdotal information that indicates a concerning rise in gambling disorders referrals since COVID lockdowns due to isolation, with more opportunity to gamble while working from home and higher levels of targeted online advertising. They see the consequences of gambling addiction on a daily basis and they have called for an immediate ban on all gambling advertising. That is what our legislation does, it is informed by medical professionals who are at the coalface of this particular public health issue. We are now asking for the public to share their experiences of gambling and the targeted advertising that they receive from the industry. We want views on how we can break the link between the enjoyment of sports and betting once and for all.

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