ESRI Stands by Problem Gambling Survey Findings Despite Doubts from Industry

Flutter Entertainment’s CEO, Peter Jackson, has cast doubt on the problem gambling rates identified by Ireland’s Gambling Regulatory Authority. The regulatory body recently released a report stating that 1 in 30 adults in Ireland are affected by problem gambling. However, Jackson expressed skepticism about this figure, citing a different survey conducted by the NHS which found that only 1 in 250 adults suffer from problem gambling. He believes this figure to be more accurate based on the company’s experience in the United Kingdom.

Jackson accused the Gambling Regulatory Authority and the Economic and Social Research Institute’s Behavioral Research Unit of overstating the issue of problem gambling. According to him, both real-life experience and independent research suggest that gambling is not as big of a societal problem as claimed by the regulatory bodies. However, Pete Lunn, a professor from the ESRI’s Behavioral Research Unit, disagreed with Jackson’s assessment. He argued that Flutter’s claims are based on outdated data, pointing out that the UK survey cited by Jackson is old and that the latest estimates from the UK Gambling Commission show a much higher problem gambling rate.

In an interview, Lunn stood by the figures described in ESRI’s research, noting that the anonymity of the latest surveys made people more likely to admit how much they gamble. He stated that the higher figures are more likely to reflect reality because the survey methods used provided respondents with anonymity, making them more willing to disclose their gambling habits.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s gambling reforms continue to be a point of contention, with Minister James Browne criticizing the industry’s “scaremongering efforts” and false claims that people would face penalties for posting about their bets on social media.

Overall, Flutter Entertainment’s CEO and the ESRI’s Behavioral Research Unit are at odds over the problem gambling rates in Ireland, with Jackson expressing skepticism while Lunn and the ESRI stand by their research findings. As the gambling industry in Ireland undergoes reforms, the debate over the prevalence of problem gambling is likely to persist.