Fianna Fail will prioritise the establishment of a Gambling Regulator – O’Callaghan

Published on: 29 January 2020

Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Jim O’Callaghan has said that if elected his party will establish a gambling regulator which will be funded by a levy on the gambling sector.

Deputy O’Callaghan said: “Gambling has become a serious problem that is destroying lives in Ireland.  Children are being lured into gambling through online-video games that use loot boxes.  Sport is in danger of being overwhelmed by the influence of gambling, with in-game betting promoting reckless behaviour and fuelling corruption

“After a decade of delays, we cannot afford to wait any longer. Vulnerable gamblers need to be protected. The gambling industry must be held accountable and forced into acting responsibly. We need to protect children from the insidious practice of drawing children into highly addictive online gambling through gaming.

“I am proposing the immediate establishment of a Gambling Regulator that will be funded by a levy on the gambling sector.  The Regulator will have over-arching powers covering both online and in-person gambling.  It will set age restrictions, gambling limits and cooling off periods. It will issue fines, conduct research and operate a Social Fund financed by the industry to help people suffering from gambling addiction.

“The Regulator will be specifically empowered to stamp out the sinister practice of luring children into online betting through loot boxes and other means. We will ban Loot Box gambling which targets children who are innocently playing online games and don’t understand how addictive these lucky-dip in-game purchases can be.

“We will also outlaw betting on live matches, which only fuels corruption in sport and encourages uncontrolled and dangerous gambling habits.  In addition to this whistle-to-whistle ban, we will set out strict controls on gambling advertisements. This must be confined to appropriate times so children are not targeted, and it must be restricted online.

“We will bring in new laws to end credit card gambling. Debt-based gambling is clearly unacceptable and should be entirely banned,” concluded Deputy O’Callaghan