About 12,000 adults in Ireland have been registered as problem gamblers, and tens of thousands more have been registered as being at risk for problem gambling, according to new ESRI research.
ESRI’s Behavioral Research Unit concluded that the gambling problem was likely underestimated.
However, the researchers said the methods used to measure problem gambling likely underestimate it, perhaps significantly, reports RTE.
The study found that problem gambling is more prevalent among young men, people from disadvantaged communities, and people with addictions and mental health issues.
Many are said to have difficulty seeing their own gambling problems and remembering how much they have spent gambling.
The review found “reasonably strong” evidence that gambling ads increase gambling.
Evidence is also said to show that gamblers can be lulled into spending money on complex bets based on unlikely combinations of outcomes.
ESRI said messages that encourage people to “gamble responsibly” are unlikely to be effective, based on current evidence, reports RTE.
ESRI said social online casino games and video game “loot boxes” that mimic online gambling and are “largely unregulated” may be correlated to layered gambling problems.
It said there are “blurred lines” between social media and online gambling, which are becoming increasingly difficult to manage, reports RTE.
The review was commissioned by the Department of Justice and the Implementation Team supporting the establishment of a new Gambling Regulatory Authority in Ireland.
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