Clinical Psychologists Says Gambling Advertising Ban in Ireland Came a Little Too Late

Daniel Williams

An Irish psychologist recently shared that the proposals for the suspension of gambling advertising until after the watershed came about 20 years too late.

Clinical psychologist Mark Smyth, who commented on some recommendations for a gambling advertising ban between 6:00 AM and 9:00 PM made by the Oireachtas Justice Committee, believes that the Irish gambling legislation changes have been proposed too late.

According to estimates, about 3,500 children aged 15 and 16 in Ireland can currently be categorised as problem gamblers.

In order to tackle the increasing gambling addiction rates in the country, especially among younger audiences, the Oireachtas Justice Committee has recommended the implementation of a ban on gambling companies’ adverts before the 9:00 PM watershed. The Committee has also said that competent authorities should evaluate the link between popular professional athletes and their influence on betting trends among children and young adults in Ireland.

As part of the efforts to minimise problem gambling among underage individuals and prevent excessive gambling of people who cannot afford to lose money, the Oireachtas Justice Committee further suggested the implementation of automated software to verify customers’ age, as well as background checks to make sure customers are financially vulnerable or can actually afford to gamble.

Gambling Sponsorship of Professional Sports Club Is the Real Cause of Rising Problem Gambling Rates, Psychologist Claims

Clinical psychologist Mark Smyth was a guest on The Pat Kenny Show, where he shared an opinion that it is likely a bit too late for the implementation of an advertising ban in Ireland.

According to Mr Smyth, the adoption of such a measure about 15 or 20 years ago might have been effective because, at the time, local teenagers’ media consumption was mostly through TV. Currently, young people do not see traditional TV channels as something they could entertain themselves with because they are mostly online. Furthermore, the psychologist noted that, in his opinion, gambling sponsorship of professional sports clubs is the real issue that affects the constant increase of problem gambling rates in the country.

What makes the advertising ban not as effective as it is intended to be, according to Mr Smyth, is the fact that sports teams still wear gambling operators’ branding on their shirts or such branding is seen on their stadiums. Furthermore, Mr Smyth argued that even in case gambling advertising is banned before the 9:00 PM watershed if a person started watching a game at 7:45 PM, for example, they would be exposed to such adverts still because the game would not be through before 9:00 PM.

According to the clinical psychologist, the research that Ireland had on gambling participation and problem gambling rates needs to be updated. He reminded that, so far, the country has been much reliant on the data regarding gambling participation and gambling addiction rates of young people that has been provided by the UK. If the Irish authorities were going to evaluate the effectiveness of any new limits that could be imposed, they had to be aware of the baseline, so the actual effectiveness of the measures is properly measured, and for this, they need to guarantee good research that could reach the extent of the problem.

Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.

Daniel Williams

Author: Dale Alvarez