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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Gambling Control Bill 2018: Second stage [Private members].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Gambling Control Bill 2018: Second stage [Private members]. (09 May 2018)

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Deputy Jim O'Callaghan: I move:


"That the Bill be now read a Second Time."


I welcome the opportunity to open the Second Stage debate on the Gambling Control Bill 2018. As Members will be aware, this legislation was introduced to the House by my colleague, Deputy Rabbitte, on 21 February last. I commend Deputy Rabbitte and Deputy Jack Chambers, who have been instrumental in moving this legislation forward and bringing it to Second Stage here today.

It is instructive to note that the legislation dealing with gambling in Ireland dates back to the Betting Act 1931 and the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956. That reveals the extent to which the current laws governing gambling are archaic. I do not believe that anyone in this House believes that the laws do not need to be updated or that new regulations do not need to be introduced. Any person who travels around Ireland will know that gambling is a very substantial and significant business. Most small towns and, indeed, large towns have many bookies' shops and there is also the opportunity for people to gamble online. It is a business that has an enormous turnover and there are significant profits from it.


I wish to note at the outset that Fianna Fáil fully recognises that many people in Ireland enjoy themselves gambling. They do not have a problem in respect of gambling. They like to bet on a horse or a football match. It provides entertainment and does not have any negative consequences for them, other than losing small amounts of money. However, that ignores the fact that many people in this country have significant gambling addictions. It is important, and the responsibility of this House, to ensure that legislation is introduced to provide some assistance for those individuals.


When it comes to introducing any legislation it is important that we look at the available research dealing with the particular social area we are trying to regulate. We have done this prior to introducing this legislation. Research was conducted in June 2015 by an academic in University College Dublin, Dr. Crystal Fulton, and it indicates there is a significant problem with gambling addiction in Ireland. Research carried out by GambleAware, which was referred to in the research I just mentioned, shows that an estimated 28,000 to 40,000 people in Ireland suffer from a gambling disorder. That is a huge number of people. We also know from international research that single men under the age of 35 are particularly affected by gambling addiction. That is a cohort of individuals in our society for which we need to do something. Many individuals - men between the ages of 20 and 35 - have significant social problems, one of which is gambling. It is simply irresponsible of this House to ignore that problem and not to try to regulate the area.


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Item Type
Dail Debates
Publication Type
Drug Type
Behavioural addiction
Intervention Type
9 May 2018

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