Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Questions (188)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

188. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Health if he will undertake a dedicated nationwide gambling prevalence survey in order to identify the number of problem gamblers, ascertain the scale of problem gambling and put the correct supports in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51933/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Responsibility for government policy on gambling lies with the Department of Justice and Equality. The Department recently published the report of the Inter-Departmental Working Group on the Future Licensing and Regulation of Gambling. The report considered the social impact of gambling and the protection of vulnerable persons. The Group recommended that a Social Fund should be established to fund research on problem gambling.

The report notes that the 2014/15 Drug Prevalence Survey provides the first comprehensive set of data on the extent of gambling in Ireland, as the final achieved sample comprised of 7,005 respondents. The results indicate that 64.5% of the population report some form of gambling in the 12 months prior to the survey, with 41.4% gambling on a monthly basis, or more often. The survey further found that prevalence of problem gambling in the general population was 0.8%.

The survey is being repeated for 2018/2019 under the auspices of the Health Research Board (HRB) with initial findings expected to be published in 2020.

The regulation of gambling is the responsibility of my colleague, Minister David Stanton, in the Department of Justice and Equality. I am happy to facilitate the Dept in the collection of data on problem gambling in the drug prevalence survey.