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‘Belfast or bust’ as new Irish gambling law could push punters north



‘Belfast or bust’ as new Irish gambling law could push punters north

Legislation designed to regulate the gambling industry in the Republic and which is not currently aligned with it UK equivalent “could push punters across the border into Northern Ireland to place bets”, an online betting lottery operator has claimed.

Regulation in the Republic seeks to cap the amount individuals can stake to €10 and what they can win through betting to €3,000, whereas the gambling rules in the north are much less stringent.

And fresh research conducted on behalf of Lottoland found that nearly three quarters of daily gamblers in the south would seek out alternative forms of betting if the stricter measures – and that potential introduction of caps – are introduced.

Mike Kirwan, vice-president of Lottoland UK and Ireland, says: “New measures look set to undermine the stated objective of harm prevention in the new Gambling Regulation Bill and will only lead to the proliferation of black-market gambling, with punters flocking to Northern Ireland to avoid the win caps.”

He says Lottoland – which has licenses in the UK, Italy, Germany, Gibraltar and Malta, and which is regulated by the Irish Government – supports the principle of harm reduction which underpins the new Bill.

“We have been calling for greater regulatory oversight of this sector for some time.

“But we believe, supported by this research, that these arbitrary stake and win caps will fail to address problem gambling.”

Under the measures proposed in the Dail’s new Gambling Regulation Bill, punters, bingo players and those who enjoy the odd bet are in for drastic changes as the legislation intends to strictly limit the amount that individuals can both stake and win on any given bet.

The government is seeking to limit the amount of money that individuals can place, and win, on any given bet at €10 and €3000 respectively.

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Three quarters of daily gamblers in the Republic say they would seek out alternative forms of betting if the stricter measures and potential caps on the amount they can bet are introduced

The bill also includes powers to control advertising, gambling websites and apps.

This represents a blanket overhaul of the sector, and will fundamentally impact how people engage with lotteries, bingo, and sports betting, regardless of whether they gamble responsibly or not.

Research carried out by Ireland Thinks on behalf of Lottoland found that 71% of daily gamblers in Ireland would seek out alternative forms of betting if strict measures are introduced while 60% of consumers surveyed responded that they either disagree with, or are unsure about, the introduction of caps.

Mr Kirwan added: “We urge the Minister, the Department of Justice and the Attorney General to reconsider measures which will only backfire and have the unintended consequence of driving those who are most vulnerable outside the remit of the Gambling Regulatory Authority Ireland (GRAI) and into the hands of potentially black-market, unregulated providers.”

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