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Horse racing industry’s fears over new gambling laws ‘will not be realised’, Martin says | BreakingNews.ie

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Tánaiste Micheál Martin has said he does not think new gambling laws will affect the horse racing industry, amid concerns raised by the sector.

Minister of State for Law Reform James Browne has brought forward a Bill which provides for the establishment of a gambling regulatory authority and is intended to protect children and those vulnerable to problem gambling.

The Government says the Bill seeks to ensure that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way.

It also includes safeguards to address problem gambling and advertising as well as measures to prevent gambling from being a source or support to crime.

Minister of State at the Department of Justice James Browne (Brian Lawless/PA)

However, horse racing channels and betting services have expressed concern about the viability of their businesses if the tighter regulations come into effect.

Mr Martin, who supports the legislation and is the party leader of Minister Browne, said he does not believe the industry’s concerns will be “realised”. He said: “I think the Irish racing industry is very strong, the breeding industry is very strong, it’s world class.

 

“I think James Browne has worked very diligently and effectively in producing a very comprehensive piece of legislation to his credit and he has a lot of respect across the Oireachtas in respect of this.

“I don’t believe the fears will be realised.”

The Fianna Fáil leader said gambling addiction is a considerable issue in society and a “serious public-health issue”.

Mr Martin added: “The ESRI estimate that about 130,000 people are problem gamblers.

“The problem with gambling is that it can destroy families overnight. People lose their houses. It can have very, very traumatic impacts on families.

“So the Bill reflects the seriousness of the situation and the seriousness of gambling addiction and I believe there are ways of dealing with some of the issues that people have raised. “

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