Irish Labour Party demands total ban on gambling advertising
Irish Labour Party politician Mark Wall has restated demands to introduce a total ban on gambling advertising in Ireland.
Wall has called upon the government to “be more ambitious” in its proposed regulation of the gambling sector in Ireland, while calling for a full ban of gambling advertisements, according to a statement on the political party’s website.
Irish gambling regulation backgroundThe Irish government revealed its Gambling Regulation Bill 2022 in November, with a view to establishing a new regulatory body with oversight of the country’s gambling industry.
The Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland (GRAI) is in the process of being established and is expected to be operational by the end of 2023.
The 172-page legislative bill provides a suggested framework for regulation of the sector, including restrictions on advertising.
Those restrictions include a ban on gambling ads on TV, radio and on-demand AV services between the hours of 5.30am and 9pm.
Labour Party demands
The Labour Party wants the government to take those restrictions further, pointing to public polls “showing clear support for such a measure,” while Senator Wall said an outright ban “is the right thing to do to protect those vulnerable to a gambling addiction and stop young people gambling.”
In his statement, he added: “Unfortunately for those experiencing gambling addiction, this does not go away after 9pm. From the moment we get up in the morning to the moment we go to sleep at night, the gambling companies know they have us in their grip.
“You can’t look at a video on YouTube without being directed to gamble, you can’t use a free app on your phone without facing these ads. We need a full ban to take back the control these companies have over us.”
Wall added that gambling operators have created a strong mental link between major sports events and betting, and that ads which push people to gamble exacerbate the problems faced by those suffering from gambling harm.
Senator Mark Wall: “Unfortunately for those experiencing gambling addiction, this does not go away after 9pm. From the moment we get up in the morning to the moment we go to sleep at night, the gambling companies know they have us in their grip.”
Taking a nod from other European markets, Wall added: “I was so impressed by the brave move taken by Belgium in recent weeks to implement a full ban on gambling ads from July.
“I am putting it up to Government to be brave enough to take on the gambling companies and do the right thing for people through a full ban on ads.”
Other jurisdictions which have seen strict limits on gambling ads recently include the Netherlands, where an outright ban on all ‘untargeted’ advertising is expected to come into force in the near future.
Who is Mark Wall?
Wall entered politics in 2009 when he was elected to Athy Town Council and Kildare County Council. By 2012, he was Deputy Mayor of Athy and by 2013 was Mayor of Kildare.
He was selected to contest a General Election in September 2015 and, since 2020, has been a sitting Senator and Labour Party spokesperson on defence, tourism and sport.
Wall has been a vocal critic of the gambling industry for several years.
In 2021, he conducted a survey finding that 80% of respondents were in favour of a total ban on gambling advertising, according to the Irish Independent.
He first introduced the Labour Party’s Gambling (Prohibition of Gambling) Bill 2021 in February of that year.