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Jerome García November 27, 2023 3 min read
Tough Regulations to Impact Dublin Betting Shops Advertising
New changes to the city's planning regulations seek to limit advertising by betting shops during sports events
The current planning regulations in Dublin, Ireland, require betting shops to remove banners promoting gambling without a penalty within a period of four weeks. During this time, the betting shops can retain this form of advertising which is deemed illegal by the Dublin City Council, a council responsible for planning, development and other community initiatives. While those regulations seek to safeguard vulnerable individuals from betting advertising, the four-week period created a loophole that is used by gambling operators.
Four weeks is approximately the duration for some sports competitions, which otherwise means that betting shops can advertise through this loophole in the regulations by placing illegal advertising banners and then taking them down without a fine. Identifying this practice as a problem, the Council seeks to engage in a testing case with the goal of discontinuing it, a new report suggests.
Last week, a report released by The Irish Times, suggested that the Dublin City Council plans to close the loophole that allowed betting operators to prey on “marginalized communities” and vulnerable individuals through illegal betting advertising banners. Such banners can be seen inside betting outlets during popular sports tournaments, including horse racing events and soccer games such as the World Cup.
Per the new proposal, the Council plans to “go straight to legal action in respect of the next suitable case that comes before Dublin City Council relating to a banner erected on a betting shop advertising betting services.” Ultimately, the test case plans to forego the four-week requirement and quickly respond to the betting advertising malpractice.
Gambling Companies Prey on Vulnerable Groups Thanks to the Loophole
According to Janet Horner, Green Party councilor, the loophole in the planning regulations enabled gambling organizations to exploit vulnerable groups in a “moral-less” manner. She explained: “I think it’s outrageous they do this knowing that they are exploiting a planning loophole.”
Horner remembered seeing advertising across the front betting shops for the Rugby World Cup. She admitted to filing complaints, saying that she hoped other people did that too. However, Horner warned about the ineffective regulation that requires betting companies to comply within four weeks, which matches the duration of some sports tournaments. “The banner has done its job, and done its damage, in the time they have been given by the planning legislation to remove it,” she said.
Ultimately, the crackdown on gambling advertising seeks to reduce at-risk and problem gambling. The latest plan of the Dublin City Council comes after early last month, the Irish government postponed a critical decision regarding levy increases. At the time the government posted its new budget, it was missing the previously discussed tax rate increase. Ireland’s Minister of Finance, Michael McGrath, did not disclose why the budget was missing the proposed change but explained that the tax rate for betting shops may be increased in the future.