Ten Percent Of Irish Teens Practice Illegal Gambling

Ireland’s National Advisory Committee on Drugs and Alcohol and the UK’s Department of Health (DOH) released a 12-month survey of teens between the ages of 15-years ad 17-year of age. 


 The results show that the children would buy scratch cards or in some cases, place a bet at the track without issue. While we may see how someone may slip through the cracks and buy scratch cards at Lottoland, we must wonder how they get away with it in person. Finding that teens gamble is not surprising. However, the number of teenagers involved can be considered low when you compare it to teens in the United States. That is something the Minister of State, David Stanton wants to prevent. He is determined to lower those numbers and to prevent gambling addiction before families are caught in its trap. 

Taking it seriously

Ireland has had the same rules and regulations since 1956. Why the basis of things has not been changed is irrelevant at this point. What is important is the attention and effort that the Republic of Ireland is applying now to bring Ireland current with other countries. The birth of technology has made gambling a world-wide experience. One idea that is on the table is raising the amount of money that can be gambled on a slot machine which of course, increases the amount that can be won. 


Currently, the  3 cent maximum stake for gaming machines is still in effect. It has been unchanged since the Gaming and Lotteries Act became law in 1956. The stake, and the payout limit of 50 cent, are widely seen as unusual. It has remained the same for over 60 years. However, concern has been expressed that the proposed increase of the limit to €10 for each stake, and a new maximum payout of €750, will make an already serious problem with gambling addictions in Ireland much worse. 

Ireland’s Independent Gambling Regulator

This office has long been promised to the citizens of Ireland. While it is running years behind schedule, it is picking up speed. This office will employee up to 100 people. Minister of State, David Staton carried the responsibility for the gambling industry. When asked about the delays, Staton points out the major changes in the industry. The most significant changes include online betting which includes companies located offshore. 


Other issues that will be carefully looked at include:


  • Gambling addiction
  • Advertising
  • Underage gambling
  • Promotions
  • Virtual betting
  • Automatic betting


In this age of internet gambling, WIFI connections, and Smartphones, controlling these issues will be a challenge. However, it is extremely important that we find the answers. Uncontrolled betting from a computer can destroy a family if there are no safeguards. Gambling is a major industry and of course, it is a major part of the Irish economy. 


No one wants to encourage reckless behavior or to contribute to the development of addiction.  Just as vendors who sell alcohol have a responsibility to refuse service to a person who is intoxicated or under-age. Casinos, domestic or offshore. must have safeguards in place to protect the public, even if from itself.

Working with the public

While the Minister of State Gambling Regulator, will work in many areas to enhance the gaming experience, they will not be able to cover all the bases when it comes to keeping the industry safe. The public will need to cooperate in order to have complete success. Some areas simply will require the help of the public. When it comes to teens, there is no authority greater than parental authority.


Addiction is a big problem in Ireland. The SPHE curriculum is presented in Irish schools to educate children on the dangers of drugs. They are told how to recognize the signs, how to get help, and how to protect themselves. No such program is presented for the dangers of gambling addiction. This falls on the parents’. This is but one example of how everyone must work together to safeguard our citizens, economy, and future.


The process has been frustratingly slow getting started. But the progress has begun. The challenge of putting into place new rules and regulations after more than 60 years will be a tough one. The winds of change are blowing and results will come swiftly. Keep your eye on the industry and you will see great things in the very near future.  

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