Sinn Féin MLA Philip McGuigan has said problem gambling will continue to cost lives unless urgent action is taken.
Speaking after attending the ‘Gambling with lives’ event in Stormont today, the North Antrim MLA said:
“Problem gambling is a public health issue and one that neither the laws nor our health service in the North are currently fit to deal with.
“Unless we get to grips with this issue, more lives will be lost and more families destroyed.
“The current gambling legislation is more than 30 years out of date, and offers very little protection from 24 hour a day access to online gambling.
“Gambling companies, who make huge profits, must be regulated in a stricter manor to help protect individuals whose betting behaviour can clearly be identified as a problem.
“Greater resources are also needed to help with addiction in general and gambling addiction in particular.
“Currently only one of the trusts here collects data on problem gambling and there are no clinics in the north focused on helping individuals suffering from gambling addiction.
“Given that the problem here in the North is the highest on these islands it is clear that urgent action is needed.”