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Psychiatrists specialising in addiction have described a ban on gambling ads and sports sponsorship as “the minimum we would expect in a civilised democracy”.

UK.- With Irish lawmakers discussing a Gambling Control Bill that would ban gambling advertising in the country, supporters of the measure have added their voices to the debate.

Psychiatrist, Prof Colin O’Gara, who specialises in addictions, said a prohibition against all gambling advertisements is “the minimum we would expect to see in a civilised democracy”.

O’Gara said: “It’s an over-18s product. We know that it can be highly addictive to a lot of people. We don’t have other over-18s products advertised at breakfast time and throughout the day and associated with healthy pursuits like sport”.

Ireland is looking to pass the Gambling Control Bill and create a new gambling regulator by the end of the year.

The new regulator is intended to ultimately be self-financing through a levy on the industry. The amount of the levy has yet to be determined but a 1 per cent charge on gambling operators’ turnover has been suggested to help fund problem gambling support services and research.

O’Gara said: “That is very substantial, but it needs to be substantial. You are talking about a network of treatment services across the country; this will be multidisciplinary consultants, community addiction teams that have a specific focus on gambling.”

The possibility of banning sports sponsorship by gambling companies, a measure that caused a lot of controversy in other countries, such as Spain is also being discussed in Ireland, although the Labour Party has stopped short of calling for an immediate ban.

However, the Irish College of Psychiatrists is pushing for a ban, O’Gara said.

He said: “It’s just almost impossible to ignore. The triggers to gamble, inducements to gamble, advertisements about gambling, people talking about gambling, radio and TV programmes where Cheltenham is brought up and gambling is mentioned

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