Ireland’s Fianna Feil party urges reform of gambling law
The Irish ruling party Fianna Feil wants to put the issue of gambling back into the political focus. As the Irish Examiner newspaper reported on Monday, the party, which has held a majority of seats in parliament since the last election in February this year, is pushing for the government to push ahead with gambling legislation, which has been stalled for years.
Party member Niall Collins said the party had already tried to pass a bill to re-regulate gambling three years ago, but was unsuccessful due to the government’s commitment.
Last year, for its part, the government prepared a bill to re-regulate gambling and lottery, but the Irish House of Commons brought it to a standstill.
The legal situation is therefore “dysfunctional” today and creates a “Wild West of Gambling” that produces more and more problem gamblers and gambling addicts.
According to statistics from the Irish Institute of Health, 40,000 Irish people are considered addicted to gambling, representing 0.8% of the total population. Among the lucky players, 7% also fell into the risk group to develop problematic gambling behavior. In total, the Irish spend EUR 5 billion a year on gambling. It is estimated that 30 to 35% of these can be traced back to problem gamblers.
Online gambling has been unregulated for years
Current gambling legislation in Ireland is still based on the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956. Since the legal texts were formulated long before the start of online gambling, they are not applicable to this.
The law is therefore considered outdated and was to be replaced years ago by the Gambling Control Bill of 2013. However, this is still hanging in the balance.
Online gambling thus remains permanently in the grey area. At the same time, player participation is growing and bookmakers’ sales are increasing. Irish sports betting provider Paddy Power said in 2015 that 77% of its sales came from the online sector.
Niall Collins says it is now more dangerous than ever not to regulate online gambling extensively. The MP said:
Online gambling dominates thousands of people who have been driven into addiction. The data from the last economic collapse suggests that online gambling will spiral even further out of control as we head into a massive economic crisis.
As the Corona crisis puts many people in financial difficulties, even more people could be tricked into gambling to “make” money through online gambling supposedly “quickly and easily.”
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