Fianna Fáil TD, Jack Chambers has said that gambling regulation in Ireland must be strengthened to support those suffering from gambling addiction and to protect others from falling victim to the industry.

The Party recently brought forward comprehensive legislation that sets out a clear basis to regulate the industry, protect vulnerable people and restrict the advertising and sponsorship of gambling.

The bill, which is co-sponsored by the Deputy’s colleagues in the Oireachtas, Anne Rabbitte TD and Jim O’Callaghan TD, will be moved in Dáil Éireann on May 9th.

Commenting following last night’s documentary, Deputy Chambers said, “In recent decades, there has been an unprecedented growth in global commercial gambling. According to the World Health Organisation, this growth has been associated with a substantial increase in problem gambling worldwide.

“Uncontrolled gambling has become a scourge on communities up and down this country and is often masqueraded as harmless socialising or enjoyment.

“It’s been five years since the Heads of the Gambling Control Bill 2013 was first published. In the time that Government has spent stalled on the legislation, countless lives have been destroyed and families left affected.

“The collateral damage triggered by compulsive gambling knows no bounds; the financial implications, broken down relationships, loss of personal identity. That’s the thing, no one is exempt from ever having to deal with its affects or consequences. Like any addiction, gambling does not discriminate.

“It’s a complete fallacy too that problem gambling is confined to men, young or old and that’s just one of the very important aspects of the disorder that last night’s documentary appropriately touched on.

“Problem gamblers in this country suffer in silence, in secrecy and are overcome by a pathological compulsion that dominates their very existence. So many are acutely aware of its prevalence in Ireland but are reluctant to recognise it.

“The importance of regulation in an ever expanding sector cannot be underestimated. The rapid growth of internet gambling alone means we need effective laws to protect vulnerable people placing bets online. The fact that there’s no physical exchange of cash makes it even more dangerous.

“It is time that emerging trends in the gambling industry are more stringently regulated to greatly reduce the level of harm inflicted and better protect those caught up in compulsive gambling,” he concluded.