The Racing Post has gone digital with the launch of paperless bookies in Dublin and Galway.
Ireland’s new gambling regulator will address previously unpoliced areas such as spread betting.
The agreement includes new content and features for Paddy Power’s self-service betting machines.
Online lottery betting operators have punched holes in arguments they adversely impact good causes initiated by Ireland’s National Lottery.
A new report titled An Assessment of the Online Gambling Market in Ireland compiled by aa economist at the University College Dublin, Jim Power, said that that lottery betting operators being responsible for the decline in funding provided by Ireland’s National Lottery is “factually incorrect”.
Premier Lotteries Ireland however, disagree with the findings and believe, like many other countries have concluded, that lotto betting companies are eating into the government’s tax kick from national lotteries.
The report commissioned by the European Lotto Betting Association (ELBA) confirmed the drop in funding for good causes by the National Lottery from €268m in 2008 to €225m in 2017, a decline of €43m, representing 16% drop.
According to the report, the three Irish-licenced members of ELBA, including myLotto24 and Lottoland, made Irish sales of €1.4m in 2017, representing about 0.25% of the draw-based turnover earned by National Lottery operator PLI that same year.
Relying on the figures from his report, Jim Power, said that there is no strong evidence supporting the notion that lottery-betting operators pose “any meaningful threat” to good causes funding.
He said the National Lottery generated only 6.5% of its sales from digital channels in 2017, woefully below the 19.5% in digital sales reported by the UK National Lottery the same year.
He added PLI’s seeming apathy toward digital channels was “massively at odds” with consumer trends.
He, therefore, suggested that the presence of lottery betting operators was driving PLI to up its game, adding that, “increased competition in the digital channel is an essential aspect in achieving long-term sustainability for good-causes funding.”
Response by Premier Lotteries Ireland
The CEO of PLI this summer used strong words on lottery betting sites calling them “rogues” for “syphoning off” National Lottery revenue resulting in the drop of funding for good causes. He also blamed the websites for the lottery’s decision to increase ticket prices.
The PLI, therefore, issued a statement last Sunday rejecting the findings in the report by reaffirming its stance that lottery betting operators are “clearly cannibalising our games and denying good causes from additional funding.”
They indicated that in 2008, funding for good causes for the National Lottery increased due to a peak in its sales that year. PLI also revealed that from 2015 to 2017 they recorded growth in good causes funding from €188m in 2015 to €226.3m.
PLI also noted digital growth was “an important part of our strategy,” indicating its regular active online players rose from 81k in 2016 to “almost 97k” by the end of 2017.
IRELAND is cleaning up its gambling industry, and lobbyist organisations have used the opportunity to call for a ban on free bets.
Following the announcement of an independent regulatory authority that will be set up in Ireland to revamp the gambling industry, a problem gambling organisation wants to put an end to free bets and other bonuses Irish betting sites.
Talking to local media, Problem Gambling Ireland’s Barry Grant said the industry needs to review its gambling advertising expectations.
“If you’re watching soccer, in particular, it’s non-stop, around social media, it’s non-stop,” he said.
“Certainly one of the areas within advertising and marketing that we would like to see the regulator focus on is free bets.
“If you compare it to alcohol and other potentially addictive over-18s products, we would never allow alcohol producers to hand out free drink vouchers, but we regularly allow the gambling industry to give out free bets.”
The comments follow the government approving a plan to overhaul Ireland’s gambling industry, considered to be self-governing. The government has attempted to regulate the industry for years, introducing the Gambling Control Bill in July 2013. But the piece of legislation has remained dormant.
Currently, Irish gambling companies operate under the Gaming and Lotteries Acts 1956 to 2013, which ministers have labelled as “disjointed”.
The bill, which addresses licensing and regulation, has not advanced until last week when Ireland’s minister of state at the Department of Justice and Equality, David Stanton, requested an update on the general scheme of the bill.
An independent regulatory authority will be set up under the scheme, which will have the responsibility to license and monitor gambling operators and investigate the legitimacy of Irish online casinos and betting sites.
The government will also have to update the piece of legislation to address advancements in the gambling industry over the past five years, including the provision of online gambling, creating a single legislative regime for all forms of gaming.
Licensed local and international gambling operators, located off and online, will also be required to pay a mandatory levy to contribute to an established social fund. If they refuse, the regulatory authority will revoke their license.
It’s not clear how much the levy will amount to, but it will be used to treat problem gamblers and go towards research and education of responsible gambling.
Our opinion – Focus needs to be on problem-gambling treatments
We are supportive of problem gambling measures, which target the minority who may not be able to have a casual punt. But Grant misses the mark when it comes to his argument since local pubs and clubs give out free drink vouchers in raffles, with meals and discount drinks during specific hours.
If the reasoning behind banning free bets, which will also take effect in Australia this year, is to protect a sub-group of people, namely problem gamblers, shouldn’t we be looking at more appropriate forms of treatment instead of blindfolding the minority?
The Irish government’s announcement to establish a social fund to contribute to the treatment of problem gamblers is a start.
Regulation and licensing are essential when it comes to the gambling industry and protecting consumers, and we admire the Irish government for looking into the bill.
The UK is probably the best example of where an independent regulatory body supports gambling operators while protecting consumers simultaneously.
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