Growing gambling addiction concerns after introduction of 8:12am greyhound racing

29 Nov

There are fears that the introduction of early morning greyhound racing will add to Ireland’s gambling addiction crisis.

Speaking on today’s Sean O’Rourke Show on RTE Radio 1, Professor Colin O’Gara, Head of Addiction Services at St John of God Hospital in Dublin stated: “I would be concerned, like a lot of treatment service providers, that this is opening up gambling to a new audience. It’s really on a background of the intense proliferation of gambling over the last few years in Ireland. Certainly I would be concerned about that. I would also be concerned about the impact of this on problem gamblers in particular – individuals who we know the industry takes a disproportionate amount of money from. I would be concerned that people who have problem gambling have lost insight into reality, they’ve lost insight into the nature of their gambling. These are the kind of people I would have thought at 8.18 in the morning are going to be gambling.”

Professor O’Gara warned that Ireland is “in a very dangerous situation at the moment because for many years we have been asking for regulation and it hasn’t come in – I do think this proliferation, and this [morning greyhound racing] being an example, is a major concern to us.”

He went on to reveal that there are an estimated 40,000 “very severe problem gamblers” in Ireland and up to 100,000 less severe problem gamblers, adding that “I would suggest that that is a relatively conservative estimate…it could be 200,000 or more.”

Studies have shown that that for every problem gambler, there are around 8 people directly affected by the problem.

Asked by programme presenter Sean O’Rourke if there has been an increase in children gambling and if “there are signs that there are more children gambling in a more dangerous way”, Professor O’Gara replied: “Absolutely. The suggestion from studies is that the rate of adolescent gambling is about three times higher. I would be particularly concerned about this group in the context of advertising in Ireland at the moment.”

The Irish Council Against Blood Sports has this week renewed an appeal to Minister for Children Katherine Zappone to take action to stop children gambling at greyhound tracks. The call follows the online publication of troubling photos showing young children at greyhound tracks with betting slips.


Don’t attend greyhound races or fundraisers/hen parties/Christmas parties/office parties held at greyhound tracks.

Contact the Minister for Children and ask her to urgently intervene to stop the Irish Greyhound Board targeting children.

Katherine Zappone, TD
Minister for Children and Youth Affairs
43-49 Mespil Rd, Dublin 4
Phone: 085 2196189 OR 01 647 3000

The cruel and crumbling greyhound industry has received nearly a quarter of a billion euros of taxpayers’ money since 2001 (including €16 million for 2018 and €16.8 million for 2019). Urge Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to end funding to the greyhound industry and instead direct the money to charities and other deserving causes. Email “Stop funding the cruel greyhound industry” to,,,

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar
Department of the Taoiseach,
Government Buildings,
Upper Merrion St, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 (0)1-6194020
Tweet to: @campaignforLeo
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Paschal Donohoe TD
Minister for Finance
Phone: +353 (0)1 6045810
Leave a comment on Facebook:
Tweet to @Paschald

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GAA: Stop club fundraisers at greyhound tracks

Irish Government: Stop Giving Millions of Euro to Cruel Greyhound Industry

Stop supporting the cruel greyhound industry

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