Ireland is known for having one of the largest gambling markets in the world. Unfortunately, it appears that a huge number of individuals here are considered to be problem gamblers. New reports indicate that gambling addiction in Ireland is now reaching record levels.
It’s a major issue that lawmakers are beginning to take a closer look at. Now is the perfect time to talk about the growing number of gambling addicts here. We’ll also talk about what politicians in the country are now calling for.
Gambling has been a part of Irish culture for decades. In 1956, the government created an official set of laws to regulate the gambling industry. The Gaming and Lotteries Act is still used as the main piece of legislation to regulate land-based gambling activities.
The rise of online gambling in Ireland forced the government to create laws on the gambling industry. In 2013, lawmakers approved the Gaming Control Bill to make internet gambling legal with oversight from the Minister and Office for Gaming Control. Today,gambling sites in Europe are able to operate in Ireland after obtaining a license from the government.
Ireland does not currently have a dedicated government body whose sole purpose is to regulate the online gambling industry. Politicians realize the issue with this and are now working to create a new, official gambling regulatory body. The country’s lawmakers claim that a new regulator will officially begin operating by the end of 2020.
Perhaps due to the lack of regulation, gambling addiction in Ireland is increasing. A February report claimed that one in 10 children here gambles illegally. New reports are now surfacing that show rates of gambling addiction are getting even worse.
According to the Irish Times, the number of individuals being treated for gambling addiction issues is reaching record levels. In 2010, Ireland defined gambling addiction as a “substance,” much like alcohol and narcotics. Since this time, more than 1,750 individuals have requested treatment for this issue.
Ireland’s Health Service Executive claims that this number is not an accurate representation of the real number of gambling addicts. This group claims there are more than 30,000 people here with problem gambling issues. A very small number of individuals actually seek treatment, they argue.
Sinn Fein spokesperson Louise O’Reilly recently commented on the issue to the media.
“We are not drifting towards a gambling crisis, we are in the middle of one,” she said. “We have the highest online gambling losses, per capita, in the world; that fact should scare politicians, but the reality is that it doesn’t.”
O’Reilly claims that gambling addiction in Ireland is mostly affecting young males. She’s urging politicians in the country to begin offering better educational information on the dangers of the gambling industry.
Ireland isn’t unique for having a major issue with problem gambling. Many countries with prominent gambling industries have high rates of gambling addiction. Recently, lawmakers in the UK began working to combat their own gambling addiction issue.
The United Kingdom is working to create a “National Strategy” to revamp the gaming industry. This country has already banned many forms of gambling advertisements. Lawmakers here are also considering banning credit cards for gambling.
With the new reports on gambling addiction in Ireland, it’s very likely that the government here will begin working to set new regulations on the gaming industry. It’s possible, yet highly unlikely, that online gambling will become banned here. We’ll need to wait and see what steps the government takes over the next few years.
Hope is that the new Irish gambling regulator can help to turn things around. A dedicated government body focused on gambling regulation will certainly help.
What do you think needs to be done here? Let us know in the comment section below!
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