A TOTAL BAN on sports gambling advertising and dedicated treatment channels are needed to tackle the “hidden epidemic of gambling addiction in Ireland”.
This is according to the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland which today launched a position paper on gambling disorders in Ireland for what is described as a ‘public health crisis’.
He said that with the blocking of progress in regulating betting point advertising standards and the lack of specialist services, gambling disorders are a public health crisis that must be addressed “as soon as possible”.
Since 2013, legislation that would reform Ireland’s gambling laws has not been put forward by the government.
It is not envisaged that such legislation will be enacted before the second half of next year at the earliest.
The College of Psychiatrists recommended that this legislation move forward and that a gambling regulatory authority be established “without delay.”
He pointed to a lack of research on gambling and gambling disorders among the Irish population and said work needed to be done to establish the extent of the problem here. The HSE has said in the past that its statistics on the matter do not give the full picture of problem gambling in Ireland.
The College has also said that the lack of dedicated gambling disorder treatment services within Irish mental health and / or addiction services is another area that needs to be addressed.
Professor Colin O’Gara, consultant psychiatrist specializing in the field of gambling addiction and lead author of the article, said: Advertisements on TV or on team shirts and side banners. Betting has become closely linked to the enjoyment of sport. We normalize play as behavior.
Just like tobacco, ten years from now I think we will come back to the proliferation of gambling advertising in sports and entertainment and ask how we let it get so out of hand. Currently, gambling advertising in Ireland is far too common and, most importantly, occurs before the turn of adult television.
The call to action follows what he called “worrying figures” on the prevalence of gambling habits among adolescents in Ireland from a European-wide survey.
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According to this study, Irish 16-year-olds have higher rates of slot machine use, sports betting and lottery participation than their European counterparts.
Dr William Flannery, President of the College of Psychiatrists in Ireland, said: “The impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic have been felt hard by those battling problem gambling. The main factors in the development and relapse of addiction include loneliness, isolation and boredom – all unfortunate side effects of the necessary social distancing restrictions put in place to stop the spread of the virus since last March.
Even in the absence of live sports, people are struggling to avoid triggers, with increased visibility of online gaming ads and the rollout of new betting platforms. We need to support people with tighter controls and responsible gambling measures built into the industry.
The college added that a targeted campaign of law reform and public education on gambling addiction by the HSE and the Department of Health is urgently needed to tackle worrying trends in harm and stress related to gambling. Game.