Established to tackle problem gambling-related issues in Ireland, The Gambling Awareness Trust is an independent charity that has access to annual funding of over €1million. The charity is dedicated to preventing and minimising player harm in Ireland by financially assisting support services that provide education, counselling, research and awareness.
The charity will receive funds from various sources, including the gambling industry. The industry is known for promoting responsible play, and making player’s well being a priority.
The first round of funds is slated to be released to The Gambling Awareness Trust by the end of the year. It will be overseen by an independent board of directors, drawn from across civic society.
Tom Hayes, former Minister of State for Agriculture will chair the board, with support from former Labour Party minister, Kathleen Lynch. Retired Garda Superintendent and private secretary to the Garda Commissioner, John Forde; Gillian Hussey, a retired District Court judge; as well as founder and former director of Aiseiri addiction services, Willie Collins will all hold positions on the board. This widely respected and highly experienced board of directors will oversee the charity and manage how funds are allocated and spent.
The chair of the board, Tom Hayes, stated that the objective of the trust is to fund support services that deal with addiction, as well as those organisations that promote awareness and education about responsible gambling. As such, the trust will also invite proposals from service providers to its undertaking of support with regards to counselling, research and education.
The establishment of the new Irish charity comes in light of the 2013 government bill which set out plans to create a social fund that would receive its financial resources from licence holders in an effort to promote socially responsible play, and combat the harmful effects of problem gambling. Hayes reinforced this by adding that the charity is an independent organisation and expects financial contributions from within the industry. He however adds that while the government’s Gambling Control Bill is yet to be enforced, the establishment of the new charity is a sign that action in this area is urgently needed and should not be negatively affected by the slow pace of the political system.
The chair of the board also mentioned that plans for one of the charity’s first major projects have already been outlined. The Gambling Awareness Trust will commission the first-ever national research study on problem gambling in the country. The report aims to provide valuable insight into the various areas that the charity should focus its efforts and financial support on in future.
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