Addicts urge TDs to back laws targeted at gambling advertising
Two high-profile gambling addicts have called on the Government to support proposals to better regulate the gambling sector and prevent the hardship it brings to families.
All Ireland-winning Galway hurler Davy Glennon and Tony O'Reilly, a former postman who gambled €1.75m he stole from An Post, have rowed in behind a Fianna Fáil bill that would outlaw advertising aimed at glamorising gambling and oblige bookmakers to become more "socially responsible".
They met with TDs in Leinster House yesterday and told them people are suffering because of a lack of regulation in the sector.
Mr Glennon, whose mother re-mortgaged her house to pay his debt, said the addiction is all-encompassing because major betting firms do little to help.
"My outlet was gambling and it took a hold of my life to an extent went from begging, borrowing and stealing. It was very dishonest and I was a compulsive liar," he said.
Mr O'Reilly told TDs how he placed 125 bets over the course of a weekend in 2011 to win almost €500,000 - only to lose it all after placing another 31 bets in a 12-hour period.
The Gambling Control Bill, sponsored by Fianna Fáil TDs Jack Chambers, Anne Rabbitte and Jim O'Callaghan, proposes to establish a framework for the regulation, including licensing, of gambling in Ireland.