Gambling revenues in Ireland increased over the last year, as many people have switched to online gambling during the pandemic.
A new report shows two-thirds of men, women and under 18s are gambling in Ireland - with up to 55,000 people deemed to have a serious disorder.
However, the Gambling Awareness Trust (GAT) study finds there is no specific public health programme to treat problem gamblers.
It recommends the establishment of a robust regulatory regime and a new industry levy and state funding to address the problem.
The study’s co-author Prof John O’Brennan says both the gambling industry and the Irish State have a ‘duty of care’ to problem gamblers.
He said: “Our report recommends the urgent establishment of a robust regulatory regime, and that a new industry levy and State funding be used to significantly enhance public treatment provision, education and awareness of gambling-related harms, and research into harmful gambling.”
GAT says a new regulator should introduce measures such as customer-affordability checks by gambling companies, as well as 'appropriate' restrictions on marketing and advertising.
According to the report, revenue from the betting taxes in Ireland is between €6 billion and €8 billion per year.
GAT says the Government therefore can afford to invest in effective care for people who are experiencing significant gambling problems.
Experts have previously said a recent rise in the number of people seeking help for problematic online gambling may just be the 'tip of the iceberg'.