Local gambling support worker and counsellor Eddie Kendrick says the recent ESRI report stating 12,000 adults in Ireland have been recorded as problem gamblers is probably only a fraction of the actual figure.
He says the link now between sport and betting is only making the problem worse, with “loot boxes” in video games seeing children becoming aware of gambling at a young age.
Eddie told Tipp FM that he has noticed through his work that people are very slow to come forward and explained why it is more prevalent in younger men.
“Smartphone use has been the biggest thing every man and woman are on a smartphone , but a lot men are looking for – gambling can be used as an escape, a way of making money, if they are looking for a thrill or a high or a buzz. Statistically speaking young men teenagers, especially young boys, take way more risks, it is actually our biology, we are risk takers and that is why the young sub group is so important.”
Restrictions and limits must be implemented on gambling platforms according to the Support Worker.
This report released also found that , people in disadvantaged communities and those with addiction issues and mental health problems are more likely to engage in problem gambling.
Eddie says attractive adverts and lack of regulation are leading to more young men, in particular, developing gambling problems.
He told Tipp FM that the Government need to introduce tougher sanctions for Gambling companies who breach regulations.
“Gambling companies want to make profits, for years they have been making profits without any care of people and some companies are still like that, I am not saying all , but some companies don’t care about people. If they are not going to be held accountable which is really what needs to be done by Government, okay like Licenses are going to be taken if you are stepping over the board and not following the restrictions and the regulations put in place. Not just a fine, fines to gambling companies, they are operating in billions if they are not massive fines they are not going to do enough to stop them from acting in a way that is detrimental to people.”