Irish Labour Party repeats call for ban on gambling ads

The Labour Party introduced a bill to ban gambling ads in 2021.
The Labour Party introduced a bill to ban gambling ads in 2021.

Senator Mark Wall wants the country to follow Belgium’s move to ban all gambling ads.

Ireland.- The Irish Labour Party has repeated its call for tough restrictions on gambling ads in the country. The call comes as Ireland prepares for the creation of a new regulator, the Gambling Regulatory Authority, under the Gambling Regulation Bill.

The Labour Party’s sports spokesperson, senator Mark Wall, said that there was public support for “more ambitious” regulation of gambling. The party introduced the Gambling (Prohibition of Advertising) Bill in February 2021 in a bid to ban all gambling advertising, including in sports. It’s calling again on the government to pass the proposed legislation, holding up Belgium’s decision to ban gambling ads as an example.

He said: “I am calling on government to go the full way by implementing Labour’s bill to ban gambling ads. The government’s new gambling control bill will impose a ban on all gambling advertising between 5.30am and 9pm, but we need to see more ambition and go the full way.

“Unfortunately for those experiencing gambling addiction, this does not go away after 9pm. 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.

“You can’t look at a video on YouTube without being directed to gamble, you can’t use a free app on your phone without facing these ads. We need a full ban to take back the control these companies have over us.”

He added: “I was so impressed by the brave move taken by Belgium in recent weeks to implement a full ban on gambling ads from July. I am putting it up to government to be brave enough to take on the gambling companies and do the right thing for people through a full ban on ads.”

Wall cited research conducted by the ESRI that found that 9.3 per cent of people aged 17-20 had taken part in online gambling and 7.2 per cent were “regularly” gambling.

He said: “The level of addiction and affliction in communities up and down this country demands serious action. We had this argument around tobacco. Time is ticking. Let’s follow the Belgian lead and ban gambling ads in Ireland.”

The Labour Party has limited influence, with only four seats in the Dail Eireann (Ireland’s lower house) and seven in the Seanad Éireann. However, Ireland’s president Michael D Higgins has expressed support for tougher restrictions. The Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) and Gaelic Players Association (GPA) have also voiced support for a ban on gambling ads in sports.

See also: Irish National Lottery reportedly up for sale

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