Gambling is our silent addiction, expert warns
Addiction expert Dr Colin O'Gara has warned that gambling is Ireland's "silent addiction" - one that is being kept "behind closed doors".
The head of addiction services at St John of God Hospital in Dublin has called for the swift introduction of an independent commission on the gambling industry, adding that passing the 2013 Gambling Control Bill "would be an obvious starting point".
"At the moment the industry is on self-regulation," he said. "We need an independent commission that is not funded by the industry."
Dr O'Gara said the lack of attention paid to the issue can be seen by comparing the number of drug addiction services to the number of services for those with gambling problems. He also pointed out that a lack of affordable services to deal with problem gamblers was becoming an issue in Ireland.
"One in 10 people presenting with a serious gambling problem get help, 90pc of the people suffering are not getting any treatment," he said. "Someone with a gambling addiction could be sitting beside you in work and you will never know."