Senator Gerard Craughwell

Independent Senator
Gerard Craughwell

I'm surprised at how much important work that effects so many peoples lives goes on in Leinster House, unnoticed by the general public. As an independent Senator, I intend to participate in the legislative process making it more effective and responsive to citizens needs.

Two red dice

Today in the Seanad Senator Craughwell  welcomed the introduction of the licensing regime for online bookmakers and betting exchanges. It is widely accepted that the current legislative framework is outdated and unsuitable for the online environment in particular. He  welcomed the fact that section 23 of the Betting Act 1931 will be amended by section 26 of this Bill to extend the current prohibition on licensed bookmakers from taking bets from those under the age of 18. Interestingly, there have been no studies examining the prevalence of problem gambling in Ireland. We only have research from other countries to go by. There is, however, consistent evidence that the rate of problem gambling is higher among youths than in the general adult population. Now while Senator  Craughwell said that he was   aware that the Gambling Control Bill 2013 which is being drafted  will introduce a range of measures to promote responsible gambling and protect vulnerable persons, including children, from problem gambling  he still believed it necessary to include in this Bill,  several amendments to promote socially responsible gambling and to deter persons from engaging in irresponsible gambling.

 

He pointed out that while  focus of this Bill is on offences  there is no emphasis on deterrents. While the psychology of gambling and the nature of addiction are complex, a multifaceted and prominently displayed warning sign and opportunities for self-exclusion have been found to be effective particularly in the on-line environment. He  told the Seanad that he had encountered two cases since my election.  One  is a family that had to borrow €15,000 to pay off the debts of a son in college who got involved in gambling. The second was an adult who gambled away €80,000 in six weeks. He said that he  is still completely thrown offside by the thought that someone could wake up  in the middle of the night and take his smartphone from under his pillow and run of a couple of bets and run up debts on such a scale. 

 here is a warning on cigarette packs to the effect that if I smoke I am likely to incur some health risk. There are notices all over the place from drinkaware.ie  advising me of the dangers of consuming too much alcohol yet I can walk into a bookmaker’s shop or use my home phone, smartphone or computer and gamble away my entire life savings and those of my family and possibly any assets I have, without any deterrent whatsoever. With all due regard to the Gambling Control Bill 2013, which will seek to introduce more severe measures Senator Craughwell  called  on the Minister of State to introduce a new section into the Bill which warns the public of the addictive nature of gambling. 

The amendments that he  proposed were: 

The public are to be warned of the addictive nature of gambling as follows—

(a) all licensed bookmaker outlets must have on display this government warning:

“Warning: Gambling has been shown to be addictive, causing financial loss and damage to interpersonal, working and family relationships”,

(b) all betting slips/documents issued by bookmakers must carry the following warning:

“Warning: Gambling has been shown to be addictive, causing financial loss and damage to interpersonal, working and family relationships”,

(c) all on-line and electronic gambling systems (including: Internet, smartphone, interactive television and telephone) must for a period of not less than 15 seconds and before the user gains access to the gambling platform display the following notice:

“Warning: Gambling has been shown to be addictive, causing financial loss and damage to interpersonal, working and family relationships”,

(d) all advertising on billboards, television, radio and the Internet must carry the following warning:

“Warning: Gambling has been shown to be addictive, causing financial loss and damage to interpersonal, working and family relationships”.

 Senator Craughwell went on to say that this  is a silent addiction. One  can keep this secret from one's nearest and dearest. This does not only involve men as we traditionally think, it now involves women and children. There is some anecdotal evidence to suggest that problem gambling affects between 0.9% and 3.3% of people. That is a fairly substantial number.

Tweets

GCraughwell
GCraughwell @ClontarfCait Agreed but very very expensive. Lol

21 hours ago. via Twitter for iPhone in reply to ClontarfCait

GCraughwell
GCraughwell @VincentH112 I am/was a teacher please

21 hours ago. via Twitter for iPhone in reply to VincentH112

 

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