GPWA Times Magazine - Issue 49 - April 2021

Joe O’Reilly WALL OF SHAME “We are talking of tortured people . . . They suffer mood swings and depres- sion,” he continued. “It leads to dishonest behavior in people who are otherwise secretive and evasive.” But then he went off the deep end, suggest- ing that “up to €10,000 a minute is spent” on online gambling, before calling for the €100 maximum bet, with only debit cards to be used. Well, Senator, if our high school math is cor- rect, and “up to €10,000 a minute” is actually being wagered online in your country, that works out tomore than € 14,400,000 a day. And it equals over € 5,256,000,000 a year. This from a country with less than five million people. Go ahead and call me a skeptic, you won’t be the first, but these numbers simply don’t add up. Speaking of math and facts, let’s talk about the number of “problem gamblers” in Ireland. As the case was being made for a max bet limit and a ban on gambling ads, it was floated out there that 30,000 people in Ireland suffer from prob- lem gambling. Once again, we are not mathematicians, but based on 2020 population estimates, that works out to 0.006% of the population. Or to put it another way, 99.994% of the good folks in Ireland do not have a problem with gambling, despite the political rhetoric and headlines. So obviously, drastic changes are need- ed, right? Let us reiterate, we are by no means sug- gesting anyone should be cavalier about problem gambling. But, seriously, why shoot sparrows with a cannon? Nonetheless, Flutter Entertainment de- cided to step up and block credit card transactions in Ireland, plus implement a whistle-to-whistle ban on television ad- verts. Now, you could call Flutter’s actions responsible, you could call Flutter’s actions proactive, or perhaps Flutter is simply trying to stave off execution from the Irish Labour Party that is calling for a complete ban of all gambling ads in the entire country, once again citing the number of gambling addicts in the country. But it seems awfully extreme to us to base such sweeping legislation on 0.006% of the people. n the surface, the proposal by Fine Gael Senator Joe O’Reilly back in February didn’t sound incredibly unreasonable. In fact, the Irishman’s suggestion that online casino players in his country be limited to a € 100 max on their bets was indeed well intentioned. That is, until the facts got in the way. Because the more Senator O’Reilly stood up and pleaded his case, the more he completely went off the rails, as so many politicians tend to do when it comes to our industry. According to The Irish Times, Senator O’Reilly said that “gambling ad- diction ruins more than one life and people chase losses with more gambling.” 70 Flag illustration by patrice6000/Shutterstock G P W A t i m e s . o r g