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Dublin: 11°C Wednesday 17 August 2022

Michael D Higgins describes TV gambling ads as a 'scourge' as he urges debate around the issue

President Higgins said debate around gambling in Ireland is to be welcomed.

Image: Shutterstock/Motortion Films

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins has described the proliferation of sports advertising as a “scourge” as he welcomed public debate on the matter. 

In a statement this morning, the president said there are “serious questions” to be answered about how so much of Ireland’s media today is “saturated” with sports gambling content. 

Earlier this week, RTE Prime Time featured a segment about problem gambling in Ireland. 

President Higgins said debate around gambling in Ireland is to be welcomed. 

He said: “I welcome the fact that the debate on sports gambling advertising has now been taken up in the public discourse.

“Earlier this month, having met with people that have overcome addictions of various kinds, I spoke of the scourge of sports gambling and the dangerous gambling advertisements, which continue to cause so much damage to families and individuals.”


The president spoke at the formal opening of an addiction centre in Wicklow last week, run by the Tiglin charity. There, he criticised how much gambling advertising is on television. 

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His statement today adds: “When I spoke at Tiglin, I suggested that nobody can accept that the tokenistic ‘small print’ warnings and invitations to be ‘responsible’ are in any way in proportion to the possible damage being inflicted by the lure of sports gambling ads.

“There are serious questions, ones that are surely in the public interest to have answered, as to how such a high degree of saturation of the media landscape by sports betting advertisements has arisen, when the evidence of the damage being inflicted is so obvious and should be a concern to us all.”

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