Sinn Féin Looking for Big Changes in Irish Gambling Industry

A new plan from Sinn Féin would see big changes for the gambling industry in Ireland. One of their proposals would be the ending of gambling advertisements on both television and radio between the hours of 6am and 9pm.

Tuesday August 17 saw Sinn Féin in an angry mood over the lack of action by the British Government in the area of gambling. They said that the Government were “doing nothing” to deal with the issue of gambling addiction. They then set out their own proposals that would see an increased amount of regulation of the gambling industry.

Thomas Gould is the Sinn Féin spokesperson on addiction, recovery and wellbeing. He didn’t pull any punches when criticizing the inaction of the Government. His description of the current lack of regulation as “frightening” and “unbelievable.”

A ban on gambling advertising before the watershed is at the top of their proposals list. They believe that there should also be a similar ban on all online platforms too. Also called for by Sinn Féin is an Independent Gambling Regulator being created.

Their comments come at a time when a review of the legislation passed in 2005 is being made by the Government. Creating a regulator is already being considered. Other reforms are also being considered and this includes both gambling advertisements and the sponsoring of sporting teams by gambling companies. To say therefore that nothing is being done by the Government isn’t too accurate a criticism.

However, Mr Gould has commented that in the past commitments had been made but nothing actually happen. He said: “We’re asking the government to have a look at our document and see what can be put in place.”

Other proposals include effective age verification before being able to gamble online being introduced. In their policy document, they write: “The extension of an electoral database checking facility to enable this in a speedier fashion should be explored.”

At present, gambling companies have to verify someone’s age up to 72 hours after they have placed a bet. Minister of State at the Department of Justice, James Browne has already said that age verification will form a key role in the new Gambling bill. He is also on the record as saying that progress has been made on creating a new gambling regulator but rather slowly. It would be fair to say though that there have been other issues to deal with in the last 18 months.

As far as it goes regarding gambling addiction, Mr Gould said: “Gambling comes under justice, where we believe addiction should come under help. And that’s one of the key points that we want to bring forward.”