May 16, 2024 3 min read


Irish Gambling Bill under Fire in Seanad for Neglecting Lottery Issues

The proposal has undergone an extensive and heated debate in Seanad earlier this week

Ireland, just like the United Kingdom, is anticipating changes to its gambling regulations. Irish lawmakers are trying to find the right balance between a fair market and one that protects consumers from excessive gambling. To achieve this, a bill was introduced that proposed robust changes to the existing legislation, calling for restrictions related to gambling advertising, protecting problem gamblers, while raising more funds for charities that provide gambling harm support.

What’s also considered in the proposal are changes to licensing, the establishment of a new gambling regulator and the enhancement of operators’ duty of care to ensure the protection of gamblers. The proposal, which already passed through Dáil Éireann, the country’s lower house, headed to the Seanad where it has undergone further scrutiny.

Minister of State James Browne previously confirmed that the legislation provides a balanced approach that grants freedom to people who want to gamble while actively trying to reduce harm and problem gambling and protect children. Among the changes a gambling advertising ban was proposed, enforced between 5:30 PM and 9 PM.

Upon arriving at the Seanad, the proposal faced opposition with one Senator warning that it lacks “integrity,” considering that it doesn’t address lottery games, such as Euro Millions, the National Lottery or scratch card games, as announced by the Irish Times. This was the opinion of the independent Senator Rónán Mullen, who spoke about scratch card and other lottery-associated games, reminding lawmakers that such activities represent gambling as well during a recent debate. He said that such activities must also be regulated by the Department of Public Expenditure.

Moreover, Mullen spoke about the excessive advertising of the National Lottery which “has to be addressed.” The independent Senator added: “It is no argument to say it is making money for the State. This approach has no integrity.”

Proposed Gambling Advertising Ban Remains a Hot Topic

Labor Senator Mark Wall, who also participated in the Seanad debate, spoke about the importance of enforcing tough restrictions on gambling advertising. He favored a 24/7 gambling ads ban, adding that such regulation is already established in other European countries such as the Netherlands and Belgium.

According to Wall, 9 PM marks a “prime time for many of those with an addiction.” He also criticized the lack of support for a 24/7 gambling advertising ban.

In contrast to Wall’s position, Fianna Fáil Senator Timmy Dooley spoke about the potential “unintended consequences” that may come if a gambling advertising ban is implemented. He flagged concerns raised by Sky Sports and Racing TV, particularly revolving around Irish race meetings. Dooley predicted that if racing no longer appears on TVs across Ireland, it “would represent a terrible blow to their livelihoods and local economies.”


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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