Irish online bets are on a steep rise amid problem gambling issues

12 June 2020
By Tony Jones
news@TheCork.ie

Entertainment

The year 2020 started with an unexpected and completely unprecedented set of events. The novel coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 7 million people while the death toll has exceeded a thumping 400 thousand. With no vaccine in sight then the only weapon is social distancing. As a result, a number of venues within the entertainment sector and beyond have been shut for more than 2 months now amid newly implemented regulations around the world.

The entertainment industry is undoubtedly one of the most affected areas. Essential services such as grocery stores and pharmacies were open throughout this period but they had to follow strict rules of social distancing and hand hygiene. This increased operating costs for business owners as the personal protective equipment (PPE), and had not previously been factored into budgets.

A long list of live concerts, festivals, movie screenings, and fashion shows was postponed or cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Global financial, commercial, and cultural hubs like London, New York, and Paris wereamong areas with the highest number of COVID cases per 1 million people. Releasess of movies and TV shows were postponed, while music events, and gigs were lost in 2020.

Problem gambling soars across Ireland as the population remains home

In Ireland people were requested to stay at home in order to protect the HSE health system, and save lives. With practically all the bricks and mortar gambling venues closed, players have turned towards online casinos that provide fast and convenient services for all users.

Ireland is not the only country that has experienced a similar trend. Across the Atlantic, the Canadian live casino sites noted higher traffic. That country implemented quarantine measures in mid-March, closing down all gambling venues.

Problem Gambling Ireland is a charity that operates in the Republic of Ireland. Its main aim is to help people with problem gambling issues across the country while communicating with important operators based in Ireland. Throughout its existence, the charity has helped thousands of people that were active problem gamblers. Moreover, they have also pushed many legislative changes that restricted unlimited and unregulated gambling within particular communities and groups in Ireland.

Recently, Irish gambling operators were contacted by Problem Gambling Ireland. The charity asked casino businesses to implement deposit limitations while generally reducing the online gambling spending limits. Problem Gambling Ireland states, that during the lockdown, the issue of problem gambling became more severe among Irish households. People that no longer have access to physical venues now spend their money and time more intensely on gambling platforms that provide no limitations. This results in higher risks of addiction, particularly among young individuals across the nation.

It is worth noting that the National Lottery Ireland has already implemented regulations in order to prevent any problematic abuse of the games provided by the body. Moreover, other individual gambling and casino-related businesses that resume operations across Ireland have voluntarily taken measures to tackle the problem. Nevertheless, there is an urgent need for the government action in order to prevent the occurrence of the problem on a large scale.

Many countries have already taken measures to prevent problem gambling during the pandemic

Ireland was by no means by the only nation globally to implement strict restrictions on gambling in response to the coronavirus pandemic. As mentioned earlier, countries like Canada, along with the United Kingdom and the United States have long-rooted gambling cultures that were more or less well-regulated prior to the pandemic. However, with lockdown measures in place and stay at home orders announced by governments, there is a need to do more.

The United Kingdom was one of the first major nations to acknowledge the issue. Their sports minister Nigel Huddleston sent a comprehensive letter to major gambling operators across the country, asking them to do more for problem gambling prevention. On the other hand, the letter also emphasised the importance of supporting those, who already identify themselves as problem gamblers. Other countries in Europe, Americas, and Asia have also implemented similar measures. Latvia completely prohibited online gambling while Spain outlawed advertising gambling businesses on March the 31st.

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