Ireland’s government is planning to restrict gambling advertising but the Labour Party wants to take things a step further and completely ban ads. Supporters of this measure argue that it will protect high-risk gamblers from problem gambling.
Senator Mark Wall spoke on behalf of the Labour Party, detailing the reasoning behind the proposed ban. He said that banning gambling ads is the right thing to do as it will not only protect vulnerable people but will also reduce the gambling content young people are exposed to.
The government’s new gambling control bill proposes the introduction of a ban on all gambling advertising between 5:30 am and 9 pm. However, Wall argued that people’s addiction does not go away after 9 pm.
Unfortunately for those experiencing gambling addiction, this does not go away after 9 pm. From the moment we get up in the morning to the moment we go to sleep at night, the gambling companies know they have us in their grip.
Wall noted that it is difficult to pick up a smartphone or watch a YouTube video without being bombarded with ads. As a result, he believes that the government should “go the full way” and ban operators from advertising their products. He described the measure as “taking control back from the gambling companies.”
Ads Encourage Harm, Wall Says
According to Wall, the gambling industry has forced people to associate major sporting events with wagering. As a result, gambling harm rates continue to be a major problem which is further fueled by the constant stream of gambling ads.
These ads are pushing people to gamble and there are no controls in place to protect those who are vulnerable to addiction.
Wall praised Belgium for opting to implement a full ban on gambling ads in July. He hopes that the Irish government will be just as brave and will do the right thing and rid people of gambling ads.
Wall noted that banning ads will help people struggling with addiction and will also help the younger generations to learn to enjoy sports, entertainment and politics without needing to gamble. The senator noted that a concerningly-high number of young people gamble. Research shows that 9.3% of the people aged 17-20 have taken part in online gambling and that 7.2% are regular gamblers.
The senator said that he is certain that the ads are pushing this behavior. He said that the levels of addiction demand serious action.
“We had this argument around the tobacco. Time is ticking. Let’s follow the Belgian lead and ban gambling ads in Ireland,” Wall concluded.