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'It's not something we particularly need' - Decision to have Lotto draw on Christmas Day met with criticism

For the first time ever, a Lotto draw is to take place on Christmas Day this year - a decision has been met with a lot of criticism from gambling addiction organisations.

There are around 40,000 people in Ireland with a gambling addiction, while nearly four in 10 Irish adults play the Lotto regularly.

Professor Colm O'Gara, head of addiction services at St John of God's Services, thinks the National Lottery should re-think the draw:

"For the Lottery to say it's got nothing to do with us is actually unreasonable.

"I think the Lottery have to respect that we have a serious public health issue with gambling at the moment in Ireland.

"Is the National Lottery a gambling product or not? The answer is yes it is.

Over €5bn is spent on betting every year - which works out at €10,000 every single minute.

"The past 10 years we have seen a significant proliferation of gambling across the board, particularly in the online space.

My concern is this is something we haven't had before, I don't think it's something we particularly need now.

"Overall it is probably a poor decision by the National Lottery because why would they want to mimic the behaviour of aggressive online companies and put themselves in the same bracket," he added.

Barry Grant from Problem Gambling also objects to the first Lotto draw taking place on Christmas Day.

He pointed out in the past when Christmas fell on a regular Lotto day, the draw was put back 24 hours.