Responsible betting practices in Ireland

Ireland has a long history of casino games dating back to the times of the Roman Empire, with two of the most beloved games, bingo and baccarat, having Irish origins. It's fascinating to note that Ireland is also the birthplace of the world's very first traditional casino, the Ridotto di San Moisè. In modern times, online gambling has become a popular activity among the Irish population. According to data provided by Statista and presented by Casino Mondo, the total amount wagered in the Irish casino gaming market between 2015 and 2021 reaches an impressive €111.2 billion.

Ireland, a member state of the European Union, has gained a reputation for its progressive stance on gambling. The nation's legislation accommodatingly permits a wide range of gambling activities. Notably, the regulatory framework is overseen at the state level, resulting in a streamlined and uncomplicated process. It is important to note that the minimum age requirement for engaging in any form of gambling in Ireland is 18 years. Responsible for overseeing the Irish gambling market and granting licenses to operators, the authority in charge is the Customs and Monopoly Agency (ADM).

Examining the patterns of gambling conduct in Ireland

An alarming trend is emerging as gambling becomes more accessible, putting more individuals at risk of developing a gambling disorder. A recent study conducted by the Higher Institute of Health (ISS) in 2018 revealed that a significant portion of the Irish population, approximately 1.5 million people or 3% of the population, are grappling with gambling-related problems. Surprisingly, it is the age group of 50 to 64 that presents the highest participation rate in gambling activities, as highlighted in the study. Interestingly, the study also found that a staggering 94% of Irish gamblers prefer traditional offline gambling methods over online alternatives. The ISS report further raises concerns by suggesting that nearly 70,000 minors may be classified as problematic gamblers, shedding light on the severity of the issue at hand.

In light of the ISS study, it has been shown that 19.3% of individuals opt to participate in casino gaming endeavors subsequent to being exposed to promotional materials. Moreover, investigations have brought to light the correlation between slot machines, video lottery terminals (VLTs), and virtual wagering with the development of gambling dependency within the Irish population. Over the course of 2015 to 2021, the quantity of electronic gaming machines present in Irish casinos experienced a decline from 418,000 to 256,000 units, while the number of VLTs witnessed a significant surge, reaching a total of 55,000 in 2021.

The municipality of Anacapri has become the first in Ireland to ban all slot machines, which I find quite fascinating. After a referendum was conducted, citizens were given the opportunity to vote on the matter, resulting in the decision to remove all slot machines. The ban specifically applies to areas within a 150-meter radius of certain establishments deemed "inadequate," such as schools and churches.

In May 2020, we conducted a survey to gauge public opinion on gambling. The findings revealed that a majority of the 1,013 respondents, specifically 51%, consider gambling as a futile expenditure of money. Additionally, 37% of the participants perceive gambling as an addictive behavior, whereas 35% perceive it as a risky endeavor. Interestingly, more than 20% of the respondents associate gambling with the anticipation of winning money. Furthermore, a notable 15% of the participants argue that gambling is a leisure activity, while only 11% view it as a form of entertainment.

What are the underlying factors that contribute to the development of a gambling addiction?

Compulsive gambling, commonly referred to as gambling addiction, is an insatiable urge to persistently engage in gambling activities irrespective of the monetary consequences. Much like drug addiction, gambling addiction is frequently likened to an uncontrollable habit. When individuals partake in gambling, they place wagers with the aspiration of obtaining a reward. This exhilarating moment of expectancy elicits a powerful surge of excitement, prompting the brain to discharge dopamine. Problematic gamblers become reliant on the sensation of euphoria that ensues when the possibility of winning a prize arises.

Amidst the Covid-19 lockdowns, people have been grappling with not only the physical and emotional toll but also a pervasive sense of ennui. Seeking solace in an alternate reality, individuals hailing from various corners of the globe, Ireland included, have sought refuge in the world of online gambling. As a consequence, there has been an alarming surge in gambling-related predicaments. Enumerated below are a compendium of the predominant factors propelling individuals towards this perilous pastime.

  • Substance abuse-related concerns
  • Financial difficulties
  • Craving for fresh experiences in one's existence.
  • Tensions in relationships
  • Separation and divorce
  • Emotional problems
  • The impact of friends and family members.

Signs and symptoms of excessive gambling behavior

Seeking professional help is crucial for individuals experiencing symptoms of gambling addiction or other forms of addiction, as the signs are often similar. Denial and shame are common emotions among those affected by gambling disorder. The consequences of this addiction can be severe, ranging from significant debts and loss of property to strained relationships. Moreover, gambling problems have the potential to give rise to suicidal ideation. It is imperative to address these symptoms promptly by seeking professional assistance to prevent further escalation.

  • Heightened feelings of anxiety and sudden shifts in mood.
  • Insomnia problems
  • Unquenchable urge to partake in games of chance.
  • Engaging in extravagant expenditures on gambling activities
  • Taking loans from friends or family members to engage in gambling activities.
  • Falsehoods regarding one's gaming tendencies.

If you suspect that you may be struggling with gambling addiction, it is crucial to acknowledge and accept the issue as the initial step towards recovery. In case you remain uncertain about whether or not you have a problem with gambling, consider utilizing an online self-assessment tool to aid in your evaluation. When encountering a loved one or acquaintance who exhibits signs of a gambling problem, it is essential to engage them in a non-judgmental conversation about their habits. Take care to observe and highlight the negative outcomes associated with their gambling addiction, expressing your concerns regarding their behavior.

Strategies for gambling responsibly

Trustworthy online gambling platforms approved by the ADM provide a range of responsible gaming features, designed to assist players in managing their gambling activities. These tools encompass deposit, loss, and bet limits, as well as reality checks, cooling-off periods, and self-exclusion options. Moreover, reputable casinos allocate specific sections on their websites to address responsible gambling, along with contact details for seeking further assistance.

Knowing how to handle your finances is crucial, regardless of your level of expertise in a particular field. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, it's important to have a firm grasp on managing your budget effectively. With that in mind, here are several valuable pointers to help you safeguard your hard-earned money:

  • Organize the gaming sessions on a monthly basis.
  • Establish a monetary limit for each gaming session and refrain from wagering an amount that surpasses your financial means.
  • Make sure to keep your gaming funds separate from your earnings.
  • Determine the appropriate betting amount for each individual game or round.
  • Irrespective of the outcome, cease participating once your allocated funds for the present gaming session are depleted.

What actions has Ireland implemented to address issues related to gambling addiction?

In an effort to address the escalating issue of gambling addiction, the Irish government has taken action by passing Decree Law no. 87/2018. This legislative measure, approved in 2018, aims to curtail the proliferation of gambling activities and safeguard vulnerable individuals, including minors, from the adverse effects of gambling advertisements. The Dignity Decree also outlaws sports betting sponsorships, recognizing the potential harm they can cause. Recently, in August 2022, the Irish communications authority, Agcom, imposed sanctions on Google and an advertising agency for their infringement of the gambling advertising ban.

Ireland's announcement in 2021 to decrease the total count of online licenses from 120 to 40 while simultaneously raising fees to 2.5 million euros or higher, effective from 2023, has raised concerns within the European Gambling and Betting Association (EGBA) regarding potential repercussions on the Irish online gambling market.

On December 29, 2022, the Irish Parliament made a decision to extend expiring gaming concessions until 2024, a move that EGBA has cautioned against. They have warned that this action could potentially lead Irish players to seek out unlicensed operators who can provide more favorable conditions since they are not bound by concession fees. By granting this extension, the government has given themselves additional time to restructure and regulate the gambling industry accordingly.

In 2021, the Irish Ministry of Economy put forward an initial proposal aimed at tackling gambling-related concerns. The plan involved suggestions such as lowering betting and winning thresholds, creating a centralized database of players, and enhancing the authority of the ADM to investigate unlicensed operators.

Where can one seek assistance for gambling addiction?

If you find yourself struggling with a gambling addiction, it's important to recognize that there is hope for reclaiming control over your life through effective treatment methods. In order to minimize the chances of relapse, individuals who are affected by gambling problems must make a complete cessation of their gambling activities. When it comes to addressing and overcoming gambling addiction, there are three primary avenues of treatment available: psychotherapy, medication, and support groups. For those who are unable to resist the temptation of gambling venues independently, there are specialized care facilities that offer assistance and support. Irish players grappling with gambling addiction can also find aid through a range of non-profit organizations dedicated to providing assistance and guidance.

Gamblers Anonymous –

Gamblers Anonymous, a renowned organization for treating gambling problems, immediately springs to mind. Established in 1957, this non-profit association boasts an international membership of individuals hailing from diverse countries, including Ireland. The best part? Membership is completely free. Gamblers Anonymous takes pride in organizing meetings where individuals grappling with gambling issues can find solace and assistance through mutual support. Should you seek further information or guidance, simply dial 0330 094 0322. Alternatively, players can readily access information regarding forthcoming meetings on the official Gamblers Anonymous website.

GiocaResponsabile –

Irish gambling operators, in response to growing concerns over the detrimental effects of gambling addiction, have taken the initiative to establish a helpline called GiocaResponsabile, which is supported by the Irish Federation of Operators of Addiction Departments and Services (FeDerSerD). This toll-free number and accompanying website serve as crucial resources for individuals who suspect that they may be grappling with gambling-related issues. The helpline is available to Irish individuals in need from Monday to Thursday between the hours of 3:30 PM and 8:30 PM, offering a convenient and accessible avenue for seeking assistance and guidance.

I am available to assist you 24/7 through our live chat support feature. Additionally, our service can be reached by email if that is more convenient for you. It is possible for individuals facing gambling problems to join GiocaResponsabile at no cost and receive expert support and treatment. Once registered, players have the opportunity to engage in weekly 30-minute sessions with a professional therapist.

Gambling Therapy –

If you're in Ireland and find it challenging to manage your gambling impulses, then you'll be glad to know that Gordon Moody offers a worldwide initiative called Gambling Therapy. This service, available in multiple languages, including Irish, can be accessed through their official website. The great thing about Gambling Therapy is that their counselors are non-judgmental and eager to listen to your concerns, providing the necessary assistance. Moreover, they can help you locate local support groups or counseling services that are suitable for your situation. As an alternative, you can also participate in online peer support groups facilitated by Gambling Therapy. Rest assured that this service is both confidential and completely free of charge.