26 May 2022

Laois call for ban on 'incessant bombardment of gambling ads' seen during Cheltenham


Honeysuckle at Cheltenham in 2020 - Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

An aspiring Laois public representative wants the Government to ban all gambling advertising.

Eoin Barry of the Labour party called for the government to fasttrack a his party's Bill that will ban all gambling advertisements.  He said the Labour’s Gambling (Prohibition of Advertising) Bill 2021, aims to regulate the advertising and sponsorship of gambling.

He highlighted the extensive ad campaigns during the Cheltenham racing festival.

“The huge and incessant bombardment of gambling advertisements during Cheltenham has reiterated the clear and present need for a full ban on ads to protect people from falling into a life of problem gambling and addiction in Laois.

“Unfortunately, we know from recently published research from the Health Research Board (HRB) that there is over 12,000 problem gamblers in Ireland and a further 125,000 people who are ‘at-risk’ gamblers. 

“We need to see real intervention from government on this. I am calling on government to fast track Labour’s bill to ban the ads that target those ‘at-risk’ gamblers and have the potential to ruin lives, devastate their families and communities and leave the person suffering from addiction feeling hopeless.

“As well as the ads on the tv, young people are bombarded with gambling ads on their phones through ads on social media channels and the sheer volume of these ads is having a huge impact on vulnerable people. Labour’s bill would take swift action to protect those at risk of developing addiction. 

“There have been multiple reports on gambling addiction over recent years. Indeed, the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland indicated a dramatic rise in gambling disorder referrals since Covid the ‘lockdowns’. Coupled with the HRB report, it’s clear that we need to act fast and put controls in place now to protect those who are vulnerable to behaviour addiction.

“The level of addiction and affliction in communities up and down this country demands serious action. It’s time to see real action from government now,” he said.


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