Leading addiction experts have warned that the new National Lottery app is harmful for gambling addicts in Ireland. The new app which was launched in June, allows players to bet on a range of lottery games on the go.

At the same time as offering quick access to games such as EuroMillions, Lotto, Daily Million and instant win games, the National Lottery has launched an intensive advertising campaign via online, television and radio channels.

Head of addiction services at St John of God Hospital in Dublin, Dr Colin O’Gara, said that “whether it affects the general public or increases their risk of gambling has not been proven conclusively. Any portal that increases the accessibility to gambling is a problem.”

“I would argue the combination of the National Lottery advertising and the mobile app increases the normalisation of gambling in society.”

He added that this app increases the risk of gambling addiction for adolescents and, in fact, stated that research suggests that children and problem gamblers are disproportionately affected by mobile apps and adverts compared to other people.

The new app was launched by Camelot Global Services, a sister company to UK national lottery operator, Camelot. The app was designed with the aim of boosting the distribution of lottery games to existing customers and attracting new customers.

“In Ireland, we have a total deregulation on gambling and lotto ads and during Euro 2016 it was non-stop,” continued O’Gara.

“Ten years ago in Ireland the vast majority of presentations for problem gamblers was practically all land-based. That has swung the other way now and the vast majority of presentations are online gambling.”

“Ultimately, this is a gambling product and gambling as a behaviour is addictive…it sits alongside alcohol, tobacco and drug use.”