It’s not just Britain that is having to deal with a problem gambling epidemic. The Senate in Ireland were presented with some shocking stats and reminders that they need to act quickly in order to prevent the increase of gambling addiction in the country.
The online gambling market in Ireland has grown significantly in the last few years but really boomed during 2020. While most businesses suffered due to the coronavirus lockdown in 2020, online gambling numbers increased significantly.
The lockdown forced the Irish to turn online for their entertainment and online gambling websites were only too happy to open their arms and welcome them. Senator Joe O’Reilly from Fine Gael party informed the Senate that there were now over 29,000 gambling addicts in Ireland and that number was growing rapidly.
He also pointed out that nearly €10,000 was spent across all online gambling sites in Ireland and highlighted the fact that top bookmaker Paddy Power brought in 77 percent of its profits from its online gambling ventures. O’Reilly has called for the government to act quick and taken stringent measures to better regulate online gambling and provide Irish players with better player protection.
One of his suggestions is to only allow players to use debit cards and not credit cards at online gambling websites. O’Reilly also wants a maximum bet restriction to be put in place and says the limit should not cross €100.
Sporting Bodies Must Cut Ties To Gambling
The UK government is currently going through a detailed review of its 2005 Gambling Act as it looks to tighten gaming regulations and address problem gambling concerns. One of the suggestions that the UK government is considering is to stop football organizations from tying up with gambling sponsors.
Senator Shane Cassells from the Fianna Fail party wants the government in Ireland to adopt a similar policy and ban sporting organizations from tying up with gambling operators. Cassells believes Irish sports fans are being bombarded with gambling advertisements, making it very difficult for them to resist the urge to gamble online.
Sporting organizations across Ireland have also been asked to show more social responsibility and not wait till a law is passed before they stop advertising gambling related products and services. Basketball Ireland was asked to lead the way and stop gambling advertising, thereby inspiring other sporting organizations to do the same.