Public health experts in Northern Ireland advise educating youngsters about gambling harm in class.
Up to 40,000 People in Northern Ireland may Have a Gambling Problem
Clinicians from the Faculty of Public Health support the introduction of gambling education in Northern Ireland’s school curriculum, according to a submission by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council to a public consultation on the regulation of gambling in Northern Ireland.
Public health experts say that the impact of advertising on children should be properly assessed. Also, the impact and accessibility of online gambling and gaming platforms need to be further studied. The report also says:
“A UK Gambling Strategy which works across relevant government departments and UK administrations to deliver a comprehensive set of actions that reduce the harm from gambling, including the harm to families, children and young people.”
In December last year, Ireland adopted the Gaming and Lotteries Act to modernize the licensing and promotion of local gaming and lottery activity.
Data from previous research show that Northern Ireland has the highest proportion of problem gamblers in the United Kingdom.
It is said to be four times above the remaining regions in the United Kingdom and three times higher than the Republic of Ireland.
Philip McGuigan is a recovering addict, who lost more than £100,000 on online poker and now calls for changing the gambling laws in Northern Ireland in order to protect others from making the same mistake.
McGuigan is a Sinn Féin member of Ballymoney Borough Council in Northern Ireland and MLA. He says that gambling is influencing children at a much younger age and in increasing quantities, so it needs to be handled otherwise there will be a growing epidemic of problem gambling among young people.
Online Gambling Restrictions Should Be Constantly Improved in the Age of Technologies
The member of the Irish republican political party highlights the impact of digital technology in the way gambling is reaching children nowadays.
The Faculty of Public Health called for the improvement of age verification procedures for online gambling. The Amusement Caterers Trade Association (NIACTA) also gave its opinion on the future regulation of betting and suggested the need for imposing age restrictions for playing the national lottery.
The CARE NI association joined the list of supporters of a regulatory body aimed at licensing and regulating the gambling industry in Northern Ireland in order to protect children, young people and vulnerable groups.
The online casino industry in the region has experienced substantial rise during the pandemic lockdown, which further dictates the need for reassessment of online gambling laws.