Retail and online bookmarkers in Ireland have agreed to introduce an industry-wide ban on credit card gambling. By the same token, pre-watershed whistle-to-whistle advertising for live sporting events has also been halted across the Irish sports betting scene.
With the new advertising restrictions, gambling ads will stop being aired during live sports taking place before 9:00 pm, running from 5 minutes before and after each event. However, this advertising ban excludes horse racing and greyhound racing. These changes have been announced by the Irish Bookmarkers’ Association (IBA) as part of an update of its Code of Practice for safer gambling.
The IBA is the industry trade body for licensed sportsbook operators in the Irish market, and its member operators will now adopt the latest version of the directives. Its members include renowned operators such as Kindred Group, Betway, Bet365, Ladbrokes, BoyleSports, Entain, and Flutter Entertainment.
Upon the announcement of the revised Code of Practice, Sharon Bryne, the Chairperson of IBA, said on behalf of the member operators:
“We recognize that there is a need for the industry to continue to develop the highest of standards for safer gambling. We believe in particular that the credit card band and the ‘whistle-to-whistle’ advertising restrictions are significant steps on that path.”
IBA Reiterates the Need for an Irish Gaming Regulator
Safer gambling is the driving agenda behind the new regulations. While recent statistics indicate that less than 1% of the population suffers from problem gambling, a UK study revealed that compulsive gambling is prevalent among credit card gamblers. According to the research, 22% of bettors who use credit cards for the activity do it impulsively.
It’s no wonder why this revised code primarily “outlines a comprehensive set of industry commitments across a range of player protection measures.” Further, the IBA is also pushing for the establishment of a gaming regulator in the Irish gaming market. The government place to address the matter in the coming legislative period. As part of her statement, Bryne added that:
“The IBA has long called for the establishment of a regulator in Ireland, and we welcome the government’s commitment to legislating for that in the coming period. This Code is not the answer to problem gambling, and we believe there is more that can be done within the forum provided by a regulator. However, we believe that these measures continue the journey the industry has been on in recent years, to ensure standards are increased for all.”
All Irish-Facing Sportsbooks Expected to be Compliant by End of Year
Some sportsbooks have already adopted the newly announced measures, while others are working to introduce the technological changes necessary to initiate the changes in their operations. It is expected that all sportsbook operators licensed in the Irish market will no longer take credit card wagers or air ads during live games by the end of 2021.
Flutter Entertainment, the owner of sportsbooks such as Betfair and Paddy Power, already enforced the said measures earlier in the year. In addition, the Irish National Lottery has also prohibited the use of credit cards for buying online lottery tickets at the start of 2021.
The IBA chairperson further reiterated the importance of the new changes in the Code of Practice and encouraged member sportsbooks to adopt the regulations as soon as possible. She said:
“We believe these are important changes for customers and represent the single widest industry initiative seen in Ireland since the introduction of Safer Gambling Week. We hope that those few operators who have not endorsed the Code will do so before long. And we look forward to working with the proposed regulator to adopt further evidence-based measures.”