Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Questions (430)

Louise O'Reilly


430. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health if a dedicated nationwide gambling prevalence survey will be undertaken to identify the number of problem gamblers here, ascertain the scale of problem gambling and put the correct supports in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5526/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The Drug Use in Ireland and Northern Ireland, Drugs Prevalence Survey 2014/2015 contains data on prevalence rates on gambling. A section on gambling was included in this survey for the first time at the request of the Department of Justice and Equality. This prevalence survey is a general population survey and is intended to reflect drug use and gambling in the general population. For the purposes of this survey, the general population is taken to mean those aged 15+ and normally residing in households in Ireland and Northern Ireland. It does not include those residing in institutions such as prisons, residential care, nursing homes, hospitals etc.

The results from the survey are published on the Department of Health website www.health.gov.ie. This showed prevalence rates for gambling of 64.4% in the last year and of 40.7% in the last month.

A detailed analysis of gambling prevalence has been completed and will be published as a separate bulletin in the near future. This will provide information on the common forms of gambling, the proportion spending over €250 per annum on gambling, the prevalence of gambling by age, gender and socio-economic group, and the extent of problem gambling.

The Health Research Board is currently administering the drugs prevalence survey for 2018/2019 on behalf of the Department of Health. This survey will again contain data on gambling prevalence, with an extended range of questions.

Responsibility for government policy on gambling lies with the Department of Justice and Equality. A review of government policy is being undertaken by my colleague, David Stanton T.D., Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration at the Department of Justice and Equality. It is important that the prevalence of gambling, especially problem gambling, is monitored by Government. I look forward to sharing the results with Minister Stanton and other interested parties.