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Self exclusion and age checks - new legislation to curb gambling habits in Irish children

Alan Shatter’s Gambling Control Bill looks likely to finally see the light of day in 2017.

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NEW GAMBLING LEGISLATION is set to curb the gambling excesses of younger people in Ireland.

The Gambling Control Bill was first published in 2013 by then Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

It has been in legislative limbo ever since, but now the Department of Justice has indicated its intention to progress the legislation through the Oireachtas at the earliest opportunity. And it is expected that it will contain safeguards to protect both children and people with gambling problems.

In response to a recent parliamentary question junior Justice Minister David Stanton (the Cork Fine Gael TD tasked with bringing the Bill to the Oireachtas) acknowledged that the Bill is at present being drafted by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, but that it will be proceeded with “at the earliest feasible opportunity”.

The complex issues surrounding gambling addiction and young people were given a dose of public scrutiny last month when Galway hurling star Davy Glennon spoke on national TV about the “rut” he found himself in after hiding a chronic gambling  habit for eight years.

24-year-old Glennon explained on RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live how he got loans from the credit union and from banks to fund his addiction, even selling his car to raise cash.

“My life was turned into a gambling rut, and I couldn’t get out… There were so many lows. I isolated myself. I became a compulsive liar,” he said.

Glennon had reached a low point in his problems with gambling when he was selected for the Leinster Final against Kilkenny in 2015, only to be taken off after 24 mins.

It was two to three days later I was at breaking point. I had a nervous breakdown. I needed to do something now.

He checked in to Cuan Mhuire, a treatment centre for addiction, and is now faring much better. “I was as bad as any alcoholic,” he said. “I had a disease that was so hidden. I hid it for eight years.”

The Government urgently needs to take serious action and bring in laws to regulate the gambling industry.

 

Regulation

The new legislation is expected to update all existing laws concerning the regulation of gambling and gaming here, with the National Lottery a noteworthy exception.

Age verification similar to that conducted in sales of alcohol will be introduced in gambling establishments, while young people will be banned from working in betting shops.

stanton David Stanton Source: Rollingnews.ie

One of the more interesting aspects expected to be included in the Bill is the principle of self-exclusion – where someone suffering from gambling for differing reasons can request of an individual establishment, or all such gambling shops in a specific area, to refuse to allow them gamble for a set period of time – usually between six months and five years.

The Bill has been delayed for an extended period of time due to ‘complexities’ in its implementation.

“The Minister is very much aware that there are a number of areas of  concern to members of the public and to the wider community in relation to gambling and he (Stanton) and the department are working to progress these issues as quickly as possible,” a spokesperson for the Department of Justice told TheJournal.ie.

The Bill, as proposed, will update all existing laws on the regulation of gambling, including betting and gaming but excluding the National Lottery. It will provide for the licensing of all forms of on-line gambling.
The Gambling Control Bill will have consumer protection generally as one of its core principles, and it is envisaged that it will include several measures aimed at the protection of vulnerable persons, including children, from risks to their well-being arising from gambling.

Read: “I was feeling, isolated. I didn’t know who to tell”: Galway hurler urges action on gambling

Read: Ireland’s traffic congestion: “Not quite back to Celtic Tiger times, but it’s up there”

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