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No cigarette-style warnings on betting slips ... for now

Do you think they’re a good idea?

Image: PA Images

Updated: 8.47pm

THE SEANAD HAS rejected calls for the following warning to be including on betting slips and websites:

“Gambling has been shown to be addictive, causing financial loss and damage to interpersonal, working and family relationships.”

Independent Senator Gerard Craughwell proposed that the warning appear on all betting slips and advertisements, as well as for a minimum of 15 seconds on online gambling platforms before a person can enter the site.

His proposal was defeated by 22 votes to 19 today, during a debate on the Betting (Amendment) Bill 2013.

Screenshot 2015-02-11 at 6.31.57 PM Source: Oireachtas.ie

Junior Minister Joe McHugh said he appreciated Craughwell’s concerns but said his suggestion was better suited to be included in the upcoming Gambling Control Bill.

“That’s the place where it’ll be discussed,” he told Senators, adding that bill being debated was focused on “levelling the playing pitch between online and offline” and revenue collection.

Screenshot 2015-02-11 at 7.00.52 PM Source: Oireachtas.ie

Craughwell said it is “deeply regrettable that our concern is about raising revenue from gambling and not the families that are suffering from gambling”.

There’s an old and wise saying: ‘Never put off tomorrow what you can do today.’ 

He said the State has “an obligation to warn people of the dangers [of gambling]” in the same way it informs the public of the negative impact of smoking and drinking.

Craughwell said “families are being destroyed” by gambling, citing two examples he has become aware of since he was elected to the Seanad last years. One involved a family who had to borrow €15,000 to pay off the gambling debts of their son, while another man gambled away €80,000 in just six weeks.

Gambling is a secret activity and as such it is difficult for family or friends to recognise that there is a problem as there are no obvious signs or signals. Frequently the problem only emerges when it is too late and massive debt or criminal activity on the part of the gambler leads to the discovery of the addiction.

Craughwell told TheJournal.ie he was “rather surprised” his proposal was defeated as so many Senators spoke in favour of it, citing the “whip kicking in”.

He noted that the Gambling Control Bill “hasn’t even been drafted yet”, adding: “I’ve no great faith it will be there before the fall of this government.”

 

Craughwell plans to resubmit the proposal when the bill is being debated at report stage.

Screenshot 2015-02-11 at 6.54.55 PM Source: Oireachtas.ie

A representative for the Irish Bookmakers Association said its members take their “responsibilities towards responsible gambling very seriously”.

We want all our customers to enjoy having a bet, understand what they are betting on, and how to identify signs that their betting activity may be becoming a problem for them.

The spokesperson told TheJournal.ie that anyone who may have a gambling problem should contact the Dunlewey addiction treatment service on 1800 936 725.

Your say

What do you reckon – should warnings appear on all betting advertisements and slips?


Poll Results:

Yes (971)
No (807)
I'm not sure (103)



Originally published: 19.27

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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