Number of people assessed and treated for problem gambling hits 230 in the country but experts say the real number is much higher.
Ireland.- Ireland’s Health Service has said there was a 7 per cent increase in the number of people assessed or treated for gambling problems in 2019.
In real terms, the increase saw 230 people assessed and treated for problem gambling last year compared with 217 in 2018.
The figures come from the National Drug Treatment Reporting System and are unlikely to include all cases of problem gambling in the country.
According to Brendan Kelly, Professor of Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin, the figures are the “tip of the iceberg”.
“Addiction to gambling is far more common than is imagined. It’s difficult to measure because there are people who are gambling in betting shops and people who are buying vast numbers of lottery tickets, but also there is online gambling, which is very concerning, and gambling by telephone in different age groups. The statistics only touch the tip on an iceberg,” he said.
Sinn Féin’s Health Spokesperson, Louise O’Reilly, called for closer monitoring of gambling activity and addiction in the country:
“What the Department of Health needs to do is actually take an accurate picture because it’s not just an issue around severe gambling addictions, it’s actually around problem gambling,” she said.
According to statistics, 93 per cent of those treated or assessed for gambling problems between 2015 and 2018 were male.