There’s an ongoing concern in Ireland about underage gambling. The issue isn’t just that boys are gambling more, but also how gambling is marketed, especially in relation to sports. It’s clear that gambling products and their marketing are often intertwined with football, boxing, and assorted sports. This is a problem not only for boys and men but for everyone exposed to these products and their marketing tactics.
The Impact of Gambling on Youth
Dr. Helen McAvoy, IPH Director of Policy, shares her perspectives on this issue. She views the problem from two angles: it’s about problematic products marketed in problematic ways, and how boys and men are exposed to these products. The hope is that research will shine a light on the reality of underage gambling, helping to develop effective preventative strategies.
Many underage individuals have been lured into gambling through sports betting. There’s something enticing about placing a bet on a popular match or guessing who will win a boxing bout. In fact, online casinos are now offering fast payouts and games like baccarat to attract younger audiences. The fast payout is particularly attractive to younger players who prefer instant gratification.
Irish Government’s Response to Underage Gambling
The Irish government is not sitting idle amid these alarming trends. The Gambling Regulation Bill 2022 is set to change the landscape of betting in Ireland. The bill was discussed last year and is likely to be passed before the year ends. This new legislation will bring the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland (GRAI) into existence, a new body responsible for overseeing gambling services licensing and regulation.
One significant provision of the upcoming law is the restriction on gambling advertisements before 9pm. This is a strategic move aimed at minimizing exposure to gambling promotions, especially for the younger population. The intention is to curb the influence of gambling advertisements on impressionable minds during early hours.
Dr. McAvoy also emphasizes the need for robust age verification procedures and tests to combat online gambling, especially considering the increasing popularity of the best payout casinos and games like roulette among the youth. These measures are seen as crucial to reducing underage gambling in Ireland.