Paddy Power Backs Out of Televised Soccer Deal in Ireland

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RTÉ, Ireland’s national TV and radio broadcaster, is the first to be affected by new advertising rules being implemented in conjunction with changes in gambling regulations in Ireland. Paddy Power has ceased its sponsorship of live televised soccer on RTÉ.

Paddy Power Cuts Off Ad Deal

This weekend, the Flutter Entertainment-owned betting firm confirmed that it had concluded its partnership with RTÉ. This news comes before new guidelines by the Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA) covering whistle-to-whistle advertising are implemented. The new rules come into force as of January 1 next year. Those guidelines fall in line with stricter regulations on gambling activity being implemented by Ireland.

Whistle-to-whistle covers the time a live broadcast event lasts from five minutes before a sporting event starts to five minutes after. It also includes half-time adverts and breaks of play, as well field-side LEDs and other forms of marketing.

The agreement with RTÉ was only for this year’s fixtures. However, Paddy Power will not extend the arrangement beyond 2022.

Paddy Power Introduces Safer Gambling Campaign

Although the company has been looking at the advertising for its “Take A Break – Safer Gambling” campaign, it isn’t clear if this marketing violates the IBA code that came into effect on January 1.

After being unable to verify if advertising safer gambling still amounts to whistle-to-whistle advertising, the IBA spent the weekend reviewing the text of its regulations.

RTÉ was paid a six-figure sum by Paddy Power for the sponsorship deal. This included the right to display the company’s logo on the screen during games as well as the live-score graphic and the clock.

It recently removed its logo from the screen, but ads featuring Paddy Power are still open and closed for live soccer coverage.

Although the ban on whistle-to-whistle ads by betting companies does not include greyhound racing or horseracing, it does affect the lucrative soccer market, which, according to some, is a major area for problem gambling.

The company said of the change in sponsorship, “Paddy Power [doesn’t] just support the incoming whistle-to-whistle ban as a company, we have already taken a market-leading position on this intervention…We also moved to use all existing slots available to us pre and post-match to exclusively promote our ‘Take A Break’ Safer Gambling tool during Ireland’s final four matches in the Men’s [FIFA] World Cup Qualifiers.”

Except for William Hill, all other leading independent bookies and brands have signed up for the Code for Safer Gambling. James Browne, Minister of State at the Department of Justice, is leading the legislative changes in the gambling industry through the introduction of regulation in 2023. He recently called upon William Hill to adopt these new rules.

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