Sinn Féin spokesperson on Addiction, Recovery and Wellbeing, Thomas Gould, has today responded to the publication of the HRB Gambling Prevalence Survey.
Teachta Gould said:
“Today’s publications should act like a fire under this government to prioritise drafting the Gambling Control Bill as soon as the Heads have passed through the Committee on Justice next month.
“The report highlights the complete lack of regulation of gambling and gaming in this state. It is now 9 years since we first heard talk of a Gambling Regulator.
“The report highlights some particular worrying figures in young males. 1 in 5 males aged 15-24 who have gambling in the last 12 months, are engaging in at-risk gambling. That is a deeply concerning statistic and one that needs to be addressed immediately.
“Sinn Féin has been calling for a fully-regulated gambling sector and last year, I published a 26-county gambling policy aimed at modernise our outdated and weak regulation.
“There are 12,000 people in this state engaged in serious problem gambling according to this report. The devastating impact of this on indvidiuals, families and communities cannot be overstated. People are losing their livelihoods, homes and relationships because of the government’s inaction on gambling.
“What is even more concerning is that there are 137,000 people experiencing some problems associated with their gambling. Many of these people are at serious risk of falling further into debt and without regulation, there are little to no protections for them.
“While the Gambling Control Bill progresses through the Oireachtas, I would urge the government in the interim to properly resource supports and services for those at risk.
“Today’s report adds to the myriad of data supporting the need for stronger gambling regulation in this state. I hope that the government today recognise the importance of this report and the need to prioritise gambling regulation.
“The failure to do so for the last 9 years has caused unimaginable damage to individuals, families and communities.”