A Labour Party senator called for the Irish Government to consider imposing tougher restrictions on gambling advertising as local customers are literally bombarded by adverts, with the 2023 Cheltenham horse racing festival just getting underway.
Mark Wall, a member of the Labour Party, commented on the issue while the iconic racing event was just about to start. Only a week ago, the Belgium Government took some steps on the matter, announcing a blanket ban on gambling advertising in the country as part of an effort to cut the exposure of local players to gambling.
According to Mr Wall, there is currently “a tsunami” of gambling ads going on, particularly over the last few weeks, and the situation was not getting better with the Cheltenham Festival on the way. As the Labor Party senator explained, local bookmakers had managed to create a strong link between gambling and sports, with the gambling adverts having a negative impact on society members who need to be simply left to enjoy sport the way it was intended to be.
As Casino Guardian already reported, local sports betting operators have been steadily increasing their advertising activities over the last few weeks ahead of the four-day Cheltenham festival, which is set to take place for the last time before the long-awaited reforms of the local Government are finally introduced in the country.
Under the proposed changes in the gambling sector, local broadcasting groups will no longer be able to air gambling adverts on television and radio channels between 5:30 AM and 9:00 PM.
Apart from that, the curbs that have been long considered by the country’s Government would result in the establishment of Ireland’s first gambling regulatory body. The independent watchdog would be given the power to decide on the times, places, and events where gambling advertising can be displayed, broadcast, or published, and would make sure that licensed gambling companies operate in line with the country’s gambling laws.
Problem Gambling Seen as Public Health Issue in Ireland
As mentioned above, only a week ago, the Belgian Government unveiled plans to suspend gambling advertising across newspapers, television and radio channels, as well as online. At the time, Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne explained that the country’s Government was extremely concerned about the possible detrimental impact that intense gambling advertising could have on the wider public. He explained that for people who wanted to fight their problem gambling behaviour, a large number of gambling adverts available literally everywhere only creates additional problems in dealing with the issue.
The planned advertising ban is set to take effect in Belgium as of July 1st, with further restrictions on gambling advertising planned for the future.
According to Labour Party senator Mark Wall, Ireland should follow suit in regard to gambling advertising curbs. This is not the first time he calls for certain restrictions on the practice. Only a couple of years ago, he introduced a piece of legislation seeking to suspend all gambling adverts in the country.
Mr Wall noted that problem gambling has turned into a public health issue in Ireland, and the Government needs to make everything possible to help gambling addicts deal with their compulsive habit. As the Labour Party senator noted, the competent authorities need to act as soon as possible in order to protect people who may be vulnerable and give them the chance to stay away from gambling.
The Gambling Regulation Bill of the Irish Government is currently at the committee stage as it is making its way through the Oireachtas. In September 2022, Anne Marie Caulfield was appointed as Chief Executive of the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA), the watchdog that is supposed to be running when the proposed piece of legislation passes through the Dáil. Hopefully, the Gambling Regulation Bill is signed into law and brought into effect by the middle of the year.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.