Fianna Fáil TDs, Jack Chambers and Anne Rabbitte have written to the Chairperson of the Oireachtas Justice Committee to request that the party’s Gambling Control Bill be accelerated through committee stage in Dáil Éireann.

Their request to advance this bill, which is also co-sponsored by Deputy Jim O’Callaghan, comes as the World Cup football tournament gets underway in Russia later this week.

Dublin West TD and Justice Committee member, Jack Chambers said, “Millions will be gambled over the duration of the World Cup over the next month just as it was during the 2014 tournament. Betting odds will be heavily advertised during every game, after all this is the single biggest gambling event in the world.

“Despite being made well aware of the dangers associated with gambling since the last World Cup four years ago, the Government has still not acted on legislation to regulate the gambling industry. I took the opportunity to raise this delay directly with the Minister for Justice during today’s committee proceedings.

“Last month, our Bill on gambling regulation was passed in the Daíl. My colleagues and I have today written to the Justice Committee to accelerate this essential legislation, which has already undergone pre-legislative scrutiny. Those who will be exposed to problem gambling and likely will be taken advantage of over the next number of weeks, need action on this, not further delay.”

Spokesperson on Justice, Jim O’Callaghan added, “Events such as the World Cup shed light on a growing and very serious problem in Ireland. We need to be in a strong position to offer better support to those struggling with an addiction to gambling, and also to assist their families.

“Our Bill specifies the need for a new social fund to do just that, as well as explicit self-exclusion protections to help those with or recovering from an addiction to avoid situations that trigger their urge to gamble.”

Children’s Spokesperson, Anne Rabbitte concluded, “There is no doubt that the gambling industry in Ireland is a substantial employer but it does require effective regulation. It’s an industry that has been let away with a lot in recent years and that needs to end.

“Our Gambling Control Bill sets out a clear framework to reach an appropriate level of regulation that would curb advertising and better protect vulnerable people.

“Together with the backing of interest groups across the country, we are aiming to achieve a series of changes to gambling regulation. I am calling on the Justice Committee to help move this bill forward now.”

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