Sunday 24 March 2019

Study: 40,000 in Ireland known to have a gambling problem

Gambling is an increasingly common problem in Ireland
Gambling is an increasingly common problem in Ireland

Sarah Jane Murphy

A comprehensive new study has warned that research is urgently needed to understand gambling fully in the Irish context.

Over 40,000 people in Ireland are known to have a gambling addiction, with single men under 35 most at risk.

The UCD School of Information and Library Studies carried out the survey, funded by the Irish Research Council and the Department of Social Protection.

Dr. Crystal Fulton, author of the study, said on RTE Radio One's Today with Sean O'Rourke that "gambling is becoming a bigger and bigger problem in Ireland."

She urged people to get honest with themselves and seek help - "the stigmatisation around gambling  keeps it secret. We need to have an open conversation."

The report, focusing on the social outcomes of problem gamblers conducted in-depth interviews with 22 gamblers.

All were all at different stages of recovery from a gambling problem. The process was open to everyone in the Republic of Ireland, inclusive of gender, sex, age and location.

86 per cent of gamblers in this study were men. These figures are consistent the gender breakdown in studies documenting gender in problem gambling.

Four distinct categories of gambling emerged from interviews - Social gambling, problem gambling, compulsive or pathological gambling and professional gambling

Dr Fulton said that a National Gambling Strategy is urgently needed.

She said that the "implementation of updated gambling legislation is essential."

She called for standardised responsible gambling measures need to be put in place across the gambling industry and all outlets for distribution of gambling information. The report recommends that the enforcement of these measures should be determined by government.

If your gambling is causing issues in your life, you can take steps to change this. Talking about gambling with somebody you trust can reduce the stress that can cause you to continue to gamble.


*If you have an issue with gambling there is free, confidential professional help and support available. Call 1800 753 753 to speak with a qualified counsellor who can provide you with free, professional and confidential assistance

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