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Clare men are gambling ‘serious sums of money’ on a much too frequent basis, local councillors have flagged as they called for an update to gambling laws.

Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee (FG) has been requested to update gambling laws “with specific reference to online gambling” and to “urgently appoint” a gambling regulator after a motion on the topic was passed by Clare councillors this week.

Speaking at Monday’s meeting of Clare County Council, Cllr PJ Ryan (IND) who proposed the motion outlined that one parent forwarded a sum of money to her son in university on Friday evening and by 9:15am the following morning “he had all the money gambled online”.

Describing it as “a serious problem,” Cllr Ryan also recalled that one woman informed him her husband was gambling the majority of his wages while sitting at home on the phone. “The gambling laws haven’t been updated since 1931,” he stated. “It is too easy to do it. If young fellas go into bookieshops, the majority of people behind the counter are responsible people and won’t take large bets from young people. The Minister needs to step up to the mark and update gambling laws and bring in a gambling regulator”.

“This is a very serious problem and isn’t highlighted because there is a certain amount of shame attached to it. A young lad at 10 years of age can actually gamble online with his father’s credit card if he has it in front of him. It is a serious situation,” Ryan concluded.

According to Ennis representative, Cllr Pat Daly “gambling addictions are rampant in this country particularly online”. He said people as young as sixteen are gambling regularly online, “It is disgraceful and shouldn’t be allowed. I’ve first hand experience of it myself. It is out of control. It is a very serious situation, you can gamble your house in one day”. He believed the prominence of advertising on television and online was fuelling the problem.

Mayor of Clare, Cllr Mary Howard (FG) commended Cllr Daly for speaking of his own experience. She said sportspeople in particular were getting a high off gambling as a replacement to alcohol consumption.

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