A “blanket ban” on gambling advertising is needed to tackle the “glorification” of the industry, according to the Labour Party.
The party is urging the Government to be more ambitious in its plans to tackle gambling promotion after a new poll found strong public support for a total ban.
Yesterday, The Guardian announced a global ban on gambling advertising across all the media group’s online and print outlets.
Labour's education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Riordáin told Newstalk Breakfast that the Government’s strategy will only ban the ads between 9 pm and 5:30 am – leaving a ‘kind of a free-for-all’ for gambling companies during the day.
Deputy Ó Riordáin said “social control over gambling” no longer exists due to the prevalence of online gambling.
“People had to go to a bookmaker shop in order to gamble – there was a level of control over that,” he said.
“Now, it's all online and about 10% of 17 to 20-year-olds are regularly gambling online.
“The Health Research Board estimates there were about 137,000 people in Ireland experiencing some level of problem gambling.”
Deputy Ó Riordáin said the advertising around gambling is “clearly feeding” this rise in gambling’s popularity.
“When you see at the level of sports advertising takes place – the advertising on the shirts and around billboards at games – we have to put in some level of control,” he said.
“When we tried to tackle smoking in the past, this was one of the avenues for trying to do that and take away the glorification of it.
“We really think you have to have a blanket ban because a lot of this gambling will take place online late at night.
“If you have a problem and you have your access to your phone and the ads begin to appear on the television and radio again, it's something I don't think is really going to work.”
Deputy Ó Riordáin said the “silence problem” around gambling is part of the issue.
“If somebody has a drug addiction or an alcohol addiction, you can sometimes see that – there's something very physical about it,” he said.
“But gambling can be something that's quite silent– there could be people living with somebody who would have absolutely no idea that they have an issue until the massive financial pressure comes on.
“The nature of how young people, in particular, are interacting with sports has changed, where they can't watch a match anymore only they feel they have to bet on some aspect of it.
“The ads around that are very clever. They're very inventive, they're quite humorous, and they appeal to a younger audience.
“Having a 9 pm cut-off point for gambling is just not going to wash.”
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