Darius Sosnovski from Tallaght, Dublin, recently appeared before the Naas District Court for stealing from several Kildare businesses. As reported by the Kildare Nationalist, the defence claimed Sosnovski committed the acts of theft with the goal of paying off a substantial €70,000 gambling debt.
According to Joe Coonan, Sosnovski’s lawyer, his client is struggling with problem gambling, and his debt was the result of excessive gambling losses incurred in 2023. Mr Coonan added that Sosnovski is taking steps to address this issue, the first being Sosnovski’s decision to download an application that prevents him from accessing gambling websites. In addition, he is currently employed and has sought help from Blanchardstown’s Gambler’s Anonymous.
During the hearing, Judge Desmond Zaidan expressed his dislike of the gambling industry, namely scrutinising how the halftime periods of football matches that are aired on television are solely taken up by sportsbook advertisements. Solicitor Brian Larkin also commented on the matter, specifically on how he believed that apart from advertisements on television, online bingo, roulette, and poker are not regulated at all.
Taking Sosnovski’s gambling problem into account, Judge Zaidan put Sosnovski on temporary probation and told him that he should work towards combating his addiction. He continued, claiming that although he did not “expect miracles,” he will give Sosnovski a chance should the accused show that he “is heading in the right direction.” Judge Zaidan did emphasise, however, that it is within his authority to rule that Sosnovski should serve two years in jail for his crimes. The case has been adjourned, and May 16th serves as the deadline for the probation report.
Gambling Advertisements are Seen as a Serious Issue Across Ireland and Abroad
Judge Zaidan’s stance on gambling adverts is not uncommon. At the time of writing, there are no Irish regulations in effect that address gambling advertisements, but this could change if Section 141 of the Irish Government’s proposed Gambling Regulation Bill is implemented. If passed, the bill will make it illegal for sportsbook advertisements to be aired on television or radio from 5:30 am to 9 pm. There are fears that the Irish horse racing industry will be negatively impacted by this bill’s implementation, however.
In neighbouring Britain, the relationship between sports and gambling has also been a point of contention. The Big Step, for instance, is a campaign that aims to put an end to sportsbook advertising and sponsorships when it comes to British football, and over 30 UK football clubs have joined the campaign’s efforts. Moreover, last year, the UK Government faced criticism for not going forward with a reform to ban gambling advertising due to there being “little evidence” of its harmful effect on consumers.
Yet, in December, MPs did call for the Premier League to further reduce the number of advertisements that are present in UK stadiums during matches. According to them, the previously agreed upon removal of gambling sponsorships from the front of footballers’ shirts set to come into effect for the 2025/26 season will not be enough to make a substantial impact on how many gambling advertisements children are exposed to during matches.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.