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Ireland Needs to Do More for Gambling Addicts, Report Shows


The Health Service Executive (HSE) may have been over-looking the problem with problem gambling in Ireland. This is not a first even if the United Kingdom as a whole has been a bastion of organizations that champion responsible gaming practices. Now, a new survey has revealed that there are certain breaches that need to be fixed and fixed quickly.

Based on the findings of a new report, the HSE has failed to provide sufficient treatment and services to people who are experiencing severe problem gambling difficulties. Even though no official statement has been issued, it’s again obvious that there is a lingering stigma that problem gamblers are in fact the sole responsible for their condition, which science has proven, is not quite so.

The findings published in the Journal of Mental Health and Addiction have highlighted the problem. Presently, there is only one body that is supplying such patients with sufficient care.

Fighting the Good Fight, Day In and Day Out

One of the most prominent fighters against gambling addiction is psychiatrist Colin O’Gara who is head of the addiction services department at Sant John of God Hospital in Dublin. According to O’Gara, there is lack of sufficient bodies that are ready to provide the necessary level of care when the need arises.

It’s not for lack of legislation either, O’Gara argues. The Gambling Control Bill, which currently dictates how such issues are handled is very much in place. However, there is a small wrinkle there – it may have failed to provide with sufficient care. Presently, the bill is under Government review and the fact that there are so many people without access to proper care is reason enough for immediate action Fianna Fáil from the Republican Party has said.

Spreading the Contagion

Looking at the available figures put forth by the Institute of Public Health in the country, there are estimated 40,000 who show symptoms of gambling addiction, which is a rather substantial number. Nearly 1% of the county’s population in fact.

Similar processes are happening in the United Kingdom as well where the number of gambling addicts has remained the same, even though participation in the activity has been crumbling for the past two or three years. Still, estimated 1% of the UK’s population are gambling addicts, and that is a staggering number.

More worryingly still, a 2017 survey has revealed that 62% of all people who have put down a wager, have staked more money than they could have actually afforded to lose. This is disconcerting in its own right already.

One of the mulled measures is to introduce a service that will offer sufficient aid to people who are experiencing symptoms. O’Gara has said on multiple occasions that the level of attention allocated to gambling addicts has not been sufficient.

With the realization that things got to change, the process is already afoot, enjoying full support by the government, too. O’Gara may soon not be the only psychiatrist who highlights the importance of adequate help for gambling addicts. Many more are to follow and Ireland is on the right track.

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