Bookmakers should be banned from setting up shop near Irish schools, according to the Labour Party.
It comes as the Government prepares to enact the long-awaited Gambling Regulation Bill which aims to modernise Ireland’s gambling laws.
The legislation would establish a new gambling regulator and give it powers to enforce a range of new licensing rules.
The regulator will also have powers to address gambling advertising across forms of media and will be responsible for addressing problem gambling, child protection, public safety and consumer protection.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Labour Senator Marie Sherlock said the legislation should go further – and bring in an outright ban on gambling advertising in Ireland.
“Ultimately, we have been talking about better regulating gambling in this country for a long period of time and we have yet to see comprehensive and firm action,” she said.
“So certainly, from our perspective, we need to get on with the gambling regulator and we need to make sure that we ban all gambling advertising – that’s not currently contained within the Government’s bill.
“So, we believe the Government needs to go much further and actually have an outright ban on gambling advertising both online and on our broadcast media.
“I think it is only then we will begin to start eroding the power and influence of gambling companies in this country and the conditions upon which children develop problem gambling habits.”
Senator Sherlock is also calling for a ban on bookmakers near Irish schools – noting that the party has reports that children in school uniforms are placing bets in bookies.
She said recent research has shown that 61% of 16-year-old in Ireland have placed a bet, while the Oireachtas Justice Committee report on Gambling has warned that 3,400 young people under the age of 18 are problem gamblers.
She said the location of bookies near schools is “just one small part of a wider problem” and noted that the ban on bookies near schools is one of a “whole range of measures that will tackle the issue of problem gambling in this country”.
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