The head of Ireland’s first-ever gambling regulator has hit out at the “gamblification” of sports, and said that it could damage young people’s relationship with something that should be a “positive influence on them”.
A new broadcast watershed set to be introduced will mean that gambling advertising won’t be permitted to be shown on Irish television or radio during, for example, a Super Sunday Premier League game or during most Six Nations games when many children are tuning in.
Furthermore, companies that breach Ireland’s new gambling laws will be facing fines of up to €20m or 10% of their turnover, whichever is higher, or have their licence suspended under the new regulator.
In a wide-ranging interview with thepublished on one of the busiest days of the sporting calendar, the CEO of the Gambling Regulatory Authority Anne Marie Caulfield said that recruitment is stepping up to build a “corporate spine” at the regulator to include a range of different expertise with its formal work set to finally begin in the new year.
One of the initial actions of the authority was to commission the ESRI to conduct research to fully grasp the extent of the problem with gambling in Ireland.
The results of these studies, described by Ms Caulfield as “quite stark”, found that there are around 130,000 problem gamblers in Ireland. This is the equivalent of one in 30 people.
“It is estimated that for every person who is demonstrating problem gambling, six to seven people are affected in terms of the family, in terms of the friends," she said. “It is quite broad, in terms of the scale and the scope, so I think it was important to establish what we are dealing with.”