August 24, 2019 3 min read


Ireland’s Compulsive Addicts Number Increases in 2018

  • Ireland treats more gambling addicts in 2018 than any other year
  • Changes to the industry in Ireland coming
  • Estimated 18 months needed for the overhaul

Ireland saw as many as 257 people being treated as compulsive gamblers in 2018, a 17% increase since 2017. New industry social measures are being prepared.

More Compulsive Gambling Cases Registered in Ireland

Ireland is a small market, but it takes gambling and any associated problems very seriously. The country’s Health Service Executive has reported that the number of individual treated for problem gambling behavior reached 257 in 2018.

The tracking began in 2011 when the Health Research Board listed gambling alongside alcohol and illegal drugs as an addictive ‘substance’. Based on year-over-year numbers, the 257 reported cases in 2018 are a 17.4% increase. Yet, based on the reporting of The Journal, the number of problem gamblers in Ireland was closer to 40,000.

Looking back at the data, another similar high was achieved in 2012 when 222 cases were reported. At the beginning of the statistics that number was only 181 cases in 2011 and 201 in 2017. The latest information has been requested by Sinn Fein TD Louise O’Reilly from National Planning Specialist Joseph Doyle and this is all part of public record.

Does Ireland Has a Problem Gambling Problem?

Ireland is no different than other countries where compulsive gamblers are registered and treated. While the country’s incidence of treated problem gamblers may seem a rather negligible amount, the real numbers are much higher. This has been confirmed by Mr. Doyle who noted that many of the people suffering from the disorder were too ashamed to come forth – or still too deeply immersed to even acknowledge they had a problem.

For instance, Mr. Doyle explained that the National Drug Treatment Reporting System (NDTRRS) wasn’t obligatory in nature, so to garner accurate numbers, authorities would need to operate under the assumption that ever problem gambler has stepped forth and admitted to the problem, which is not true.

Ireland Addresses Problem Gambling Heads On

The country has lost no time in preparing a legal framework that would allow it to prepare itself for any upcoming big upset insofar problem gambling is concerned. In June, the gaming and Lotteries Bill 2019 did something similar to the FOBTs legislation in the United Kingdom.

The bill effectively slashed the maximum stake down to about $11.24 and the prize pool to $843 in total. Yet, the bill is not final and it will soon be replaced by the Gambling Control Billwhich will introduce broader changes to gambling in Ireland.

Based on the preliminary estimates of Minister of State David Stanton it would probably take around 18 months to introduce the new legislation that will govern gambling in Ireland.


Simon is a freelance writer who specializes in gambling news and has been an author in the poker/casino scene for 10+ years. He brings valuable knowledge to the team and a different perspective, especially as a casual casino player.

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