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Union of Students in Ireland statement 17.02.21

The Union of Students in Ireland supports the bill launched today which seeks to ban gambling advertising, and the union is calling on the Government to act on its Programme for Government commitments in relation to gambling.

The Labour Party bill, launched by Senator Mark Wall, is seeking to disconnect sport and other entertainment from gambling by preventing gambling from being advertised on television and online.

USI supports this aim and says action is badly needed in this area, as many people – particularly young people who have grown up with such advertising constantly shown in association with sporting events – now see sport and gambling as intrinsically connected.

USI Vice President for Campaigns, Craig McHugh said: “Sport is losing a lot of its meaning, particularly among young people. In commentary and punditry, it is now completely normal and standard to hear analysis given in terms of the effects on betting and the odds of someone getting a goal or what effect a particular result will have on accumulators etc. rather than on the match, competition, or sport itself.

“In Ireland research shows that 61 per cent of those aged 16 had already placed a bet, that is very worrying compared to the European average of 40 per cent, which is high in itself. We need to tackle this now.”

USI is also calling on the Government to urgently act on the commitment in the Programme for Government to establish a gambling regulator, a body that was promised by many Governments, but has never been enacted. This regulator would be expected to have oversight on how the gambling industry can advertise.

USI also believes more should be done to assist those with a gambling addiction to receive the support they need and encourages those who are suffering from this addiction to reach out for advice and support.

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