Tracy McElhinney, Labour Party Local Area Representative for Trim, said that there is an urgent need to enact Labour’s Gambling (Prohibition of Advertising) Bill 2021 which would ban all gambling advertisement in Ireland. She was commenting on the debate today in the Seanad on the Labour Party Bill.
McElhinney told Meath Live, “We have a national problem with gambling in this country. In 2019, Ireland had the 7th highest gambling spend in the world – €9.8 billion (€379.51 per head).
“This spend is encouraged and cultivated by massive advertising campaigns by gambling companies across all forms of media.
Gambling ads are the most commonly shown ads during televised sporting events in Ireland, and the 7th most common form of ad shown in general. These statistics don’t account for the incessant pop-up ads on phones, on websites and traditional banner advertisements.
“For some years now, in Meath and across the country we have heard countless heart-breaking stories of individuals and families destroyed by gambling addiction. Many brave people like Oisín McConville and Cathal McCarron have shared their personal story to highlight the urgent need to ban gambling advertising and rein in the industry once and for all.
“The gambling industry has worked hard to create a strong link in our minds between major sports events and betting – even politics is targeted by these companies. It’s deeply concerning to read that children as young as six years old are asking parents questions about these ads that they are seeing on TV.
“We need to stop linking betting with the enjoyment of sports and entertainment. Gambling destroys people’s lives, families lives and damages communities.
“The Government need to wake up to this live issue and stop with tokenistic responses. 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. We are storing up a serious health problem for this country by not acting now.”