Following publication of the first dataset on gambling in Ireland, David Stanton (Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration) said that modernisation of gambling legislation and the better regulation of the gambling industry is a priority.
The statistics show that gambling is problematic for a small percentage of people, though a high proportion of the population is involved to some extent in gambling.
In the past year, 64.5% report some form of gambling, while 41.4% report gambling on a monthly basis or more often.
The most common form of gambling is on lottery tickets or scratch cards, with 56.7% engaged with these forms of betting.
Those aged 55-64 are most likely to report gambling in the last year (72.4%), followed by 35 to 44-year-olds (70.5%) and 45 to 54-year-olds (69.4%).
Gambling online or by telephone is most prevalent in young males, with 12.7% of 18 to 24-year olds and 15.6% of 25 to 34-year-olds involved.
Overall, a larger proportion of females report playing bingo than males.
Females aged 18-24 report the highest proportion of bingo playing in the last year (10.1%).
Spending more than €250 in the last year on playing bingo in person is most common in females, and increases with age (2.6% of females over the age of 65 report spending more than €250 per year on playing bingo).
Of people who spent more than €250 on gambling in the past year, a larger proportion of people spent this money on lottery tickets or scratch cards (11.2%) than any other form of gambling.
Males who are over 65 are most likely to have spent more than €250 in the last year on lottery tickets or scratch cards (16.1%), followed by males aged 35-64 (14.4%), and females aged over 65 (14.2%).
Young males (15 to 34-year-olds) are most likely to spend more than €250 placing sports bets in a bookmaker’s shop.
Problem gambling is most common in young males (2.9% in males aged 25-34, and 1.9% in males aged 18-24).
The overall prevalence of problem gambling in the general population was 0.8%.
An Inter-Departmental Working Group has been reviewing the provisions of the General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill 2013.
The minister said: “The working group’s report will address the issues of introducing a modern licensing approach to all gambling activities, including advertising, establishing an independent regulatory authority, and enhancing protection of consumers and vulnerable persons.”
He said that the data highlighted the need for regulation and protective measures.
“I also intend to shortly bring a Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill to Government for approval to publish. This bill will propose important amendments to the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956,” he said.