In March 2019, the Government published the Inter-Departmental Working Group Report on Future Licensing and Regulation of Gambling. This report refers to the introduction of a modern licensing approach to all gambling activities, including enhanced protection of consumers and vulnerable individuals. The report also acknowledges the raised public awareness of problem gambling and the harms caused to individuals, families and communities in this regard. It recommended that a social fund should be developed and managed by a new regulatory authority to assist with research, information campaigns and to support addiction treatment.
The Government has approved the establishment of a gambling regulatory authority. It is intended that the authority will develop and enforce necessary and appropriate licensing and regulatory measures in respect of all gambling activities. I understand that the Dept of Justice and Equality will draft the necessary heads of legislation.
The Department of Health has no remit in regard to awareness campaigns on problem gambling.
For the Deputy’s information, the Department of Health funds the Health Service Executive for provision of addiction treatment services, including gambling addiction. The HSE funds a number of voluntary sector providers who treat gambling addiction, along with drug and alcohol addictions. Counselling and rehabilitation services provide care to those with a gambling addiction through one to one counselling, financial advice and onward referral to other services and supports where appropriate, such as Gamblers Anonymous.