The College of Psychiatrists of Ireland has recently urged the Irish government to ban betting ads. This comes after the release of the Gambling Disorder Position Paper last week which called problem gambling a “public health crisis”.
Growth of problem gambling
In the report, it was noted that lockdown in Ireland due to COVID-19 has contributed to the growth of problem gambling. The College of Psychiatrists suggested that this was a “hidden pandemic” and needed to be addressed as quickly as possible.
With more people working from home and feeling isolated as a result of local and national lockdowns, online gambling figures have soared. The report suggested that a few measures could help to reduce this pandemic, including advertising controls and public education.
Ban on betting ads
The professors who contributed to the paper felt that there was a strong link between problem gambling and the volume of ads that are based on this topic. Some even compared it to tobacco ads which were previously banned.
Professor Colin O’Gara said: “We cannot continue to ignore the links between problem gambling and the current high volume of betting ads – be that in traditional TV ads or on team jerseys and side-line banners.”
The paper also stated: “All gambling advertising-related activity should be closely monitored by an independent regulator. The independent regulator should be aware of the influence social media advertising can have on children and adolescents” and “the independent regulator should also be aware of the use of micro-transactions and loot boxes in online gaming, described as ‘virtual games of chance.”
Although this is just a report, for now, the Irish government will likely take note and consider putting new measures in place in 2021. Affiliates and operators in Ireland must make sure to keep up with any changes that might be put in place regarding betting ads.