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Irish lawmakers consider gambling ad ban

Lawmakers from the Irish Labour Party are putting forth a bill that would ban nearly every form of gambling advertising on the Emerald Isle. It’s a radical idea that would hobble licensed operators, open the door for black market gaming, and – fortunately – may not have enough support to pass into law.

The effort to turn the Gambling (Prohibition of Advertising) Bill 2021 into law is being spearheaded by Labour Senator Mark Wall. Senator Wall and his supporters see problem gambling as a public health issue and are keen to point out that Ireland comes in seventh on the list of worldwide gambling spending. The Senator also suggests that he is merely responding to complaints from his constituents about the proliferation of gambling ads in daily life.

In a statement quoted by the Irish Times, Senator Wall stated that problem gambling by young people has been exacerbated by the conditions of the pandemic. “While people are homeschooling their children during the day they’re faced with gambling ads and their children are asking them what these various companies are offering. That is totally unacceptable in this day and age,” he said.

Under the terms of the bill, nearly every form of gambling advertising except sponsorships would be banned. That would mean no operator ads on public transport; no billboards; and no gambling promotions during live sports broadcasts.

Though Senator Wall does have the support of The College of Psychiatrists and other health officials, his Labour Party is not currently in power in Ireland. That means that he could have challenge turning his blanket prohibition on gambling advertising into law anytime soon.