Ireland has third highest gambling losses in the world

New data shows we've overtaken America...

Gambling, Ireland, addiction, gambling problem, Pat Kenny, Gamblers Anonymous

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Ireland recently overtook America in spending per person when it comes to gambling.

Lack of regulation in the country means that Ireland now has the third highest gambling losses in the world, according to new data from H2 Gambling Capital consultancy.

Image: The Economist 

Australia was the first country to deregulate gambling, and it shows - the country made $18.3 billion in losses in 2016.

Speaking this morning, Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan stated her extreme worry at figures.

"The damage that problem gambling is having on Irish society goes largely unreported. While issues around problem drinking and drug abuse have been tackled in a more head on fashion in recent years, the issue of problem gambling has been relatively ignored by politicians.

"Problem gambling is a huge cause for concern in modern Irish society. Unfortunately, because it is not as visible as other problems, politicians and certain sections of the media seem to think that it is not a pressing matter.

"However, I think it is one of the gravest issues facing Irish society."

Gambling Control Bill

The general scheme of the Gambling Controll Bill was introduced in 2013 by then-Minister for Justice Alan Shatter. 

Moves are being made towards pushing the bill out of legislative limbo, with the Minister of State David Stanton at the Department of Justice and Equality taking responsibility.

As part of this review, the Department of Justice and Equality commissioned a research project on developments in the gambling area since the general scheme was published.

The report is being examined at the moment and the Minister of State has also asked his Department to examine whether there are any "individual pressing areas of concern", intended to be dealt with in the Bill, which could be dealt with sooner in 2017 by separate legislative measures.