Ex-betting supremo: Kids think gambling is normal because of constant ads

A businessman who founded a major gambling company now says betting is being normalised to children because of a “bombardment of advertising”.

Calling for “radical change”, Stewart Kenny suggested that parents feel under siege from the sheer number of adverts in the media.

Kenny, who founded Paddy Power in 1988, said he could understand calls for an outright ban.


Speaking to The Times, Kenny outlined his disagreement with the current Chief Executive who has spoken out against tighter restrictions.

“There needs to be a radical change. It’s normalising gambling for kids”.

“I don’t think any parent in the country really appreciates being bombarded with the amount of gambling advertising.”

“The main point I want to make is that it’s normalising gambling for children”, Kenny said.


Kenny also commented that “nobody could have predicted” the scale of advertising today.

However, during debates on the Gambling Act in England in 2005, The Christian Institute warned: “Gambling advertising will appear everywhere from street corners to television”.

Kenny, who ended ties to the company he founded in 2016, has previously spoken out against fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

He warned the Irish government to stay away from the “dangerously addictive” machines in 2009.

‘Uncontrolled experiment’

Last month UK Government advisors warned against the “increased exposure” to gambling adverts, saying young people were the subjects of “an uncontrolled social experiment”.

Their report added: “Ideally, children and young people should not be exposed to marketing and advertising for gambling at all, let alone in the quantities now prevalent.”

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