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Two-thirds of population have gambled in the last year, report finds

Two-thirds of the population have gambled in the last 12 months, according to a report published by the Department of Health.

The report, which looks at the prevalence of gambling in Ireland, shows that more than 40% of people gamble on a monthly basis or more often.

The study sampled a number of people over the age of 15 from August 2014 to August 2015.

It was found that buying lottery tickets or scratch cards was the most common form of gambling.

Online betting was most popular among young men and the highest prevalence of problem gambling was also seen in men aged 25-34.

Almost one in ten 15-17-year-olds also bought a lotto ticket or scratch card, while just over 15% of the same age bracket said they had placed a bet on a horse or dog race.

It is hoped that the data will provide a baseline to help in policy formation and future action.

The initial results of the next survey, covering the period of 2018 and 2019, are expected within the next year.

Responding to the results today, the Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration David Stanton said: “The modernisation of our gambling legislation and the better regulation of the gambling industry is a priority for Government.

"This is especially important for the small percentage of people for whom gambling can negatively affect significant areas of their lives including their mental and physical health, employment, finances and relationships with others.

"This survey, and the continued future gathering of this data, will greatly aid our understanding of the issue and help us plan our interventions accordingly," he said.

Responding to the report, the National Lottery is committed to operating in a socially responsible way and protecting players’ interests is paramount.

A spokesperson said: "The National Lottery differs from other forms of gaming in that it is based on many people playing, but spending reasonably small amounts.

"We exist for the sole purpose of raising money for Good Causes all over Ireland – whilst offering the people of Ireland fun, responsible play."