December 19, 2023 3 min read

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Irish Minister Slams Anti-Gambling Reform Scaremongering Efforts

Browne also slammed recent claims that people could be jailed for social media posts about bets

James Browne, the Irish minister tasked with revamping the industry, says gambling harm must be addressed. In an interview with The Irish Sun, Browne slammed the scaremongering accusations that the new rules will land people in jail over betting tweets.

Thanks to his experience as a barrister Browne was tasked to regulate Ireland’s gambling industry by Tanaiste Micheal Martin himself. Many of Ireland’s gambling laws are almost a century old, sparking the need for urgent changes. However, Browne’s proposals have aggravated operators, sparking claims that the new regulations would devastate the horse racing industry.

In his interview with the Irish news outlet, Brown defended his vision for Ireland’s gambling sector, emphasizing the dangers of gambling harm. He said that he has personally known gambling addicts and believes that the Irish society doesn’t take the matter as seriously as it should. He reminded the public that the issue is very serious and that everyone is at risk.

Browne pointed out that, unlike other types of addiction, gambling addiction can be invisible to a person’s loved ones, which makes it very dangerous. He reiterated the importance of protecting local consumers in light of a recent study that showed there are approximately 130,000 problem players in the country.

Because of that, Browne and the Irish regulator seek to introduce new fines and possible jail sentences for operators and executives that violate Ireland’s safer gambling rules. In addition, the new regulations would ban betting ads from airing before 9 pm and will prohibit enticing offers such as free bets.

However, these measures do not sit well with the industry.

Browne Slammed the Scaremongering That Is Going on

In his interview with The Irish Sun, Browne said that the new measures are impeded by “extreme intensive lobbying.” Racing TV and At The Races, on the other hand, recently expressed their concerns, saying that the advertising ban may force them to exit the Irish market.

Racing TV, for example, said that the ban may cost it EUR 2 million. Browne, however, said that the broadcaster is yet to provide any evidence of that. He added:

Even if you accept the €2m — which is questionable — that’s a tiny fraction of a contract worth hundreds of millions of euros and a contract that was entered into in the face of Government policy.

James Browne

Browne added that the new policy will not change what types of betting are permitted or what events customers can wager on. As a result, broadcasting should not be as impacted as Racing TV claims, he concluded.

Browne also slammed recent claims that people could be jailed for social media posts about bets. He called this “scaremongering” and confirmed that people will not face charges for retweeting odds.

Finally, the Minister refuted the claims that the new public health measures would devastate the racing sector, saying that horse racing companies will likely just revert to sponsors that are not gambling companies.

Despite that, Browne conceded that the legislation would still need certain tweaks before it is ready to be signed into law. Browne confirmed that his team is working on amendments that address a problematic measure that would have introduced betting limits of EUR 10 for games with fixed odds, effectively hurting the poker sector.

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Journalist

Although Fiona doesn't have a long-spanning background within the gambling industry, she is an incredibly skilled journalist who has built a strong interest in the constantly growing iGaming network. The team at GamblingNews.com is glad to have her on our roster to help deliver the best stories as soon as they hit. Aside from writing, she loves to dabble in online casino games such as slots and roulette, both for her own enjoyment and also as research to better improve her understanding of the industry.

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