Ireland is going to take a similar approach to that found in other countries that have decided that gambling needs to be a weaker industry. Even though statistics show that only about 0.8% of the population falls into the “problem gambling” category, the country has been working on new legal parameters for online sports betting and casino operators, but the Irish Bookmakers’ Association (IBA) has decided to implement some of its own restrictions before new mandates are passed down. The changes will certainly leave some consumers in the country more than a little frustrated, although the writing was already on the wall.
Irish Bookmakers Cut Off Credit Cards
The IBA has announced a few policy changes as part of its own “code of practice” that are designed to offer a safer gambling experience. All members of the organization, including BoyleSports, Flutter Entertainment, Entain, Betway and others, are expected to no longer accept credit cards for purchases made online or in their respective retail betting shops. It’s unclear if the new rule applies to merchandise purchases, as well, or only betting purchases.
According to Sharon Byrne, the chair of the IBA, “The IBA has long called for the establishment of a regulator in Ireland, and we welcome the Government’s commitment to legislating for that in the coming period. This code is not the answer to problem gambling, and we believe there is more that can be done within the forum provided by a regulator.”
Until earlier this year, it was still possible to purchase lottery tickets online from the National Lottery using a credit card. However, the agency updated its policy “in the interests of encouraging responsible play” among its players. According to the Lottery’s website, retailers can still accept credit cards, so it isn’t clear how effective the new rules are.
Gambling Advertising to Slow Down
In addition to scrapping credit cards, the IBA is also scrapping much of its advertising. Going forward, once the new code has been completely implemented, there will be a blanket “whistle-to-whistle” ban on advertising from sports betting operators during sports contests. This initiative was likely to be made a requirement at some point, as Ireland’s government has been discussing a complete ban on gambling-related advertising during sports events since the beginning of the year.
[We] believe that these measures continue the journey the industry has been on in recent years to ensure standards are increased for all.”
Flutter, which is behind the Paddy Power brand, already began making these changes earlier in the year, preparing for what was coming. The code of conduct has reportedly been accepted by all IBA members, but just some of the online licensed operators outside of the organization, although no names have been provided. Other changes are going to be implemented, as well, in conjunction with these two major updates.