ESRI Study Shows 1 in 30 Face Problem Gambling in Ireland

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Ireland's Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) has published a new report stating that approximately 1 in 30 adults in the country grapple with issues related to problem gambling.

The findings were based on anonymous online panels involving 2,850 adults. It indicates that the problem gambling rate in Ireland is now ten times higher than the figure estimated in 2019. The earlier results were obtained through face-to-face interviews with participants.

According to ESRI, the new figure closely aligns with the high level of problem gambling observed within friends and family circles. Researchers note that the amounts people reportedly spent on gambling platforms align with national industry revenue figures, which suggests that respondents did not significantly overstate their gambling activity.

It is hard to measure problem gambling precisely. But we are confident that 1-in-30 adults more accurately reflects the true situation than previous estimates.

Pete LunnHead of Behavioural Research Unit at ESRI

Other Key Figures

The report also reveals that an additional 279,000 adults show moderate signs of problem gambling. Although these individuals display multiple negative behaviors or experiences related to gambling, they do not meet the criteria for being classified as gambling addicts or problem bettors.

According to the study, people identified as problem gamblers spend more than €1,000 (£866/$1,050) per month on gambling. This finding suggests that over 25% of the total amount spent on gambling is attributed to people struggling with problem gambling.

Online gambling accounts for three-fifths of the total gambling spending among individuals with gambling problems. Additionally, the report highlights that problem gambling rates are higher among individuals under the age of 50, with those in their 30s estimated to have the highest rate.

The most popular forms of gambling amongst respondents are lotteries and scratch cards, closely followed by horse racing betting, greyhound racing betting, and other forms of sports wagering. Slot machines and casino gambling were common online options amongst individuals with problem gambling.

The findings conclude that people experience problems gambling due to the widespread availability of gambling and exposure to related advertising.

Underage Gambling

The report follows a recent study in September that raised concerns about underage gambling in Ireland.

The report reveals that approximately one in four 16-year-olds in Ireland have gambled over the past year, and nearly a quarter struggled with managing their gambling habits.

Like most European countries, the legal age for gambling in Ireland is 18.

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