Ireland's Labour Party has introduced a bill banning gambling advertising outright.
The Proposed Ban
The Gambling (Prohibition of Advertising) Bill 2021 would prohibit all gambling ads apart from sponsorships.
The sponsors indicate they seek to separate the gambling industry from the everyday recreational enjoyment of pastimes including sports, politics and entertainment.
Main opponent Minister for Public Health and Fine Gael TD Frankie Feighan saying he supports “the gist” of the bill, but would need to read the bill itself before determining if he would throw support behind it.
Bill Sponsor Speaks
Labour spokesperson on sport Senator Mark Wall, who co-introduced the bill with TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, called gambling addiction “a silent scourge across the nation, which is why the Labour Party has published legislation to address this national problem.”
Massive Gambling Output
Wall expressed concern about needing to manage Ireland's prodigious gaming output, whose gambling spend in 2019 of €9.8 billion (or €379.51 per head Wall said was the seventh highest in the world.
Wall cited a comprehensive national campaign to raise awareness against what he called “unnecessary encouragement” of gambling:
“Our legislation to #BeatTheAds will...ban all gambling ads across the media, on public transport, billboards and online outlets.”
Wall is attempting to curtail the efforts of the gambling industry to link sports events to gambling, characterising advertising around sports broadcasts as a bombardment.
Wall quoted research indicating 75.4% of broadcasts show at least one gambling advertisement, with gambling ads the most common type shown of ad shown during televised sports and the 7th most common form of ad shown generally.
Deputy Ó Ríordáin added that “Gambling is an addiction. We’re introducing legislation to ban the manipulation carried out by the industry which is one step forward in addressing this (public health) issue.”
Pandemic's Key Impact
The Deputy cited evidence from the College of Psychiatrists in Ireland confirming the connection between the high volume of betting advertisements and increases in problem gambling during the lockdowns.
The pandemic seems to have been the straw that broke the camel's back in Ireland, opening the floodgates to a flurry of legislation to protect players from harm, including the stringent advertising ban.