New Charity Established to Address Problem Gambling in Ireland

€1m to be Spent on Research, Education and Support Services

The Gambling Awareness Trust is a new independent charity set up to fund services providing addiction counselling, education, research and awareness in relation to gambling and gambling addiction in Ireland.  The Trust will be overseen by an independent board of directors drawn from across civic society and will have access to a fund of over €1m per annum.

The board is chaired by Tom Hayes, a former minister of state for agriculture, and also includes Kathleen Lynch, a former Labour-Party Minister, John Forde, a retired Garda Superintendent and private secretary to the Garda Commissioner, Willie Collins, former CEO and Clinical director of Aiseiri addiction services, and Gillian Hussey, a retired District Court judge.

The Trust will shortly invite proposals from service providers in the fields of research, counselling and education. The first round of funding will likely be made before the end of this year.

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Tom Hayes Chairman of Gambling Awareness Trust said:

The setting up of the Trust is a recognition of the growing concern at the harm problem gambling can cause for some vulnerable people in Irish society and the need for an independent structured funding body to select and fund such services. The Trust will receive funding from several sources including the gambling industry. It is hoped that in time other commercial organisations who benefit from gambling will also contribute. The aim of the trust is to fund important services dealing with gambling addiction and to promote awareness and education about responsible gambling”

A Government Bill published in 2013 proposed the creation of a Social Fund, financially resourced by gambling licence holders to promote socially responsible gambling and counter-act the ill-effects of irresponsible gambling.

Mr Hayes said:

“While we are waiting for the Government’s Gambling Control Bill to be enacted, today’s announcement is a recognition that action in this area is needed now and should not wait for the political system.. The Charity is an Independent body and expects financial contributions from across the Gambling industry.

The Trust has already taken the view that there is a need for comprehensive authoritative research on the availability of research, education and services relating to problem gambling in Ireland. It has therefore decided to commission the first ever National research on Gambling and Problem gambling in Ireland.  It is hoped that this report will give considerable insight into the areas where the board should focus its attention.”