The Republic of Ireland’s Public Expenditure Minister, Michael McGrath, has proposed banning private bookmakers accepting bets on the National Lottery’s numbers.
According to the Irish Independent, McGrath is worried that bookmakers offering similar items under their own brand names are undermining the National Lottery and Euromillions, a practise he claims is misleading customers.
Furthermore, the Minister has expressed reservations about operators’ marketing tactics, such as the use of free bets, discounts, and loyalty programmes linked to lottery betting.
The National Lottery forbids these activities, but private betting companies may sell them on their own lottery items.
According to polling company Red C, lottery betting accounts for around 8 percent of Ireland’s overall gambling income, or around €400 million in total turnover. It’s also been estimated that 35 percent of lottery players would participate if they could bet on the result.
McGrath is said to have written to James Browne, Minister of State for Law Reform, advocating for legislation banning private operators from providing lottery betting as a commercial product.
Legislation to reform Ireland’s gambling laws
Browne is drafting legislation to reform Ireland’s gambling laws, including a ban on using credit cards for betting and the elimination of gaming rewards such as special deals.
In addition, the Minister intends to establish a gambling regulator to oversee all legislation relating to the Irish betting industry, and he has backed the implementation of affordability tests to limit how much people can gamble based on their personal financial condition.
Finally, the lawmaker wants to initiate a crackdown on offenders who use the regulated gambling industry to launder money, and has laid out plans to create a social fund to fund problem gambling recovery services.
‘Interim Gaming and Lotteries Act’
Over the last year, Irish politicians have been particularly focused on tightening controls on the country’s betting and gambling industry, with the ‘Interim Gaming and Lotteries Act’ passing through the Dáil in December 2020, paving the groundwork for comprehensive gaming law reform.
The Irish Labour Party has also introduced new legislation, the Gambling (Prohibition of Advertising) Bill 2021, which, if passed by the Dáil, will make gambling ads illegal.
Leading sporting bodies, including the Gaelic Players Association (GPA) and the had called for a ban on betting advertisements during sporting events.
Despite the fact that the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) has introduced a ban on sports betting sponsorship deals, the League of Ireland will not be affected.