Macra na Feirme has confirmed its support for a ban on online gambling ads.
The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have resulted in a notable increase in both online gambling and online advertisements for these services.
The rural youth organisation stated the “extension of the government lockdown has meant that temptation to gamble is greater now than ever as people are restricted to their homes”.
The farm group added that those, who would have traditionally placed bets in the bookies, may now be turning to online which is open 24/7.
Ban online gambling ads
Macra na Feirme national president, Thomas Duffy, said:
“These ads can take advantage of those that are vulnerable and this is compounded by the lack of the normal social networks which have been removed during Covid lockdowns. The Government must legislate to ban online gambling ads to protect those being targeted.”
Gambling addiction is something that affects over 30,000 people in Ireland and problem gambling can result in bankruptcy and significant social issues.
Gambling in Ireland
According to the Institute of Public Health in Ireland, gambling addiction affects young people at 2-3 times the rate of adults.
Gambling online or by telephone is most prevalent in the 25-34-year-old groups (5.7%), followed by 18-24-year-olds (4.8%).
Macra na Feirme, rural youth chairperson, Shane Quigley, added:
“During this crisis, people are vulnerable, anxious and have more time on their hands. Traditionally betting would be seen as associated with betting shops and races. However, online gambling allows people to gamble on anything at any time.”
“Government statistics now show it is a widespread problem from senior managers to the unemployed. Many people are throwing away their incomes due to the actions of these gambling companies.”
“Promoting gambling during this high-stress time is nothing short of predatory,” Quigley concluded.
Macra na Feirme election 2021
Meanwhile, the group’s 38th presidential and vice-presential election race is well underway.
Candidates for national president
- John Keane, North Tipperary
- Daniel Long, South Tipperary
Leinster vice-president candidates
- Claire Gough, Meath
Munster vice-president candidate
- Áine McCarthy, Imokilly, Cork
- Elaine Houlihan, Limerick
North-west vice president candidates
- Luna Orofiamma, Cavan
The group issued ballot papers on March 17th, with the election count to take place on April 7th, 2021.