Irish betting/gambling stakeholders have agreed to establish the ‘Gambling Awareness Trust’, aiming to improve Ireland’s problem-gambling harm networks, counselling, research and treatment.
The Trust has been established as an independent charity and has received a commitment of €1 million in initial funding from the Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA).
In its mandate, the Gambling Awareness Trust seeks to fund research of problem gambling, raise awareness of gambling harms, whilst further helping Irish health stakeholders’ in the treatment of the addiction.
Governing directives, the Trust has established its first board, which will be chaired Tom Hayes, Ireland’s former Junior Minister for Agriculture.
Hayes is joined by former Minister of State for Primary Care, Kathleen Lynch (Labour Ireland), retired Garda Superintendent John Ford, judge Gillian Hussey and addiction treatment and research specialist Willie Collins, Partner at Aire Counselling.
Maintaining the Trust’s independent governance, the IBA has detailed that it will hold no board representation. The IBA expects to make its full announcement on the Gambling Awareness Trust later this week.
The Gambling Awareness Trust will be set-up regardless of progress made by the Fine Gael government on revamping the nation’s gambling regulatory framework, and finally delivering Ireland’s new ‘Gambling Control Bill’.
For years’ national stakeholders have branded Ireland’s gambling framework as not fit for purpose, with wagering laws governed by the mandates of the Gaming & Lotteries Act 1956 and the Betting Act of 1931.
At present, Irish betting incumbents, await the publication of the Dáil policy review on its approved 2% turnover tax, a last-minute concession granted by Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, examining the impact of increased betting charges on betting ship closures and job losses.
Entering 2019, David Stanton Ireland’s Minister of Equality and Integration, considered the architect of the ‘Gambling Control Bill’, stated to media that regardless of the tax outcome on betting, Ireland would establish its new gambling framework this year.
Furthermore, Stanton pledged that Fine Gael would establish a new gambling regulatory unit – The Gambling Control Office, tasked with monitoring advertising standards, marketing/promotions, underage gambling and social responsibility directives.