For the past three decades, bookies in Ireland have been legally accepting bets on the outcome of the National Lottery’s draws. Now, a new bill has put forward the idea of outlawing betting on lottery draws. The bill is backed by the National Lottery, and this is not the first time when the operator lobbies for a ban on private operators’ betting activities regarding its draws.
What Happens If the Ban Passes
In case the bill passes and turns into law, Irish punters will no longer be allowed to use bookies to place bets on the numbers they think will be drawn during an upcoming National Lottery draw. According to a spokesperson for Premier Lotteries, the new law would align the country with most European countries, mentioning France, the UK, and Spain.
Plus, according to pro-bill voices and the National Lottery operator itself, the ban would increase Premier Lotteries funding that reaches good causes each year, as per the 20-year license issued by the Senate valid until 2034. According to the license, Premier Lotteries are required to donate 65% of the gross gaming revenue to good causes on a yearly basis. The respective funds reach a variety of sectors such as heritage, arts and culture, services offered to the youth, and sport.
On the opposite end, bookies are lobbying Oireachtas members, the legislative body in the country, not to support the bill. Such opponents argue that prohibiting the activity of betting on lottery outcomes would exclude competition and result in net losses to revenue. Furthermore, the bill could lead to many jobs being lost, while not actually brining in bigger funding for good causes. Whether this claim stands will be subject to debate.
Why Punters Prefer Betting on Lotteries
The price of buying an official Euromillion or Lotto ticket is a fixed one. Nonetheless, bookies give punters more freedom of choice when it comes to choosing how many numbers to wager on. They can also choose their own stakes, whether over or under the fixed lottery ticket prices provided by the National Lottery.
Bookies also display better odds on the chance of some lotto numbers being drawn compared to the actual National Lottery draw, except for the main jackpot. Nonetheless, the chances of matching all numbers whether during the official lottery draw or as part of a bet on the outcome of a draw are both extremely low.
Also, the considerably low return rate of the National Lottery games has once again come up during the past weeks, given the jackpot has continuously rolled over 47 times starting June.
Fine Gael Senator’s Lobby for the Bill
Barry Ward is a Fine Gael senator who joined fellow senators to push the bill that would ban betting on lotteries in dedicated bookmakers. Ward decided to support the bill after learning one of his acquaintances prefers to bet on the lottery in the bookies instead of buying a lottery ticket.
This convinced the senator to further research the matter, which helped him discover just how much money goes into the lottery’s fund for good causes. While stating not to have any “particular grá” for the Lottery, Ward proposed the bill in hopes of the money spent on betting on draw outcomes would instead reach good causes instead of the accounts of private companies.
While no clear estimate exists regarding the amount that would reach the good-causes fund, Ward declared the bill would be worth passing even for an added $3.3 million to the respective fund. The bill has already passed through the second Senate stage at the end of September. At the moment, there are no indicators regarding its progress. However, Ward continues to feel confident about the bill receiving the backup it needs to turn into law.