After the regulation that came into effect on 14 April 2020 to ban the use of credit cards in the UK online gambling industry, the prohibition will be extended in Ireland. Flutter Entertainment, the owner of Paddy Power, Betfair, and Sky Bet has already forbidden the usage of credit cards for gambling transactions from the beginning of April. From this time, you can gamble with a credit card only at offshore sites listed at CasinoGap, NonStopCasino and other sports betting portals.
This global sports betting, gaming, and entertainment provider is the first company to adopt this measure as part of its commitment to making stronger protection of the Irish players. This ban would certainly decrease the core earnings of this giant company by between £14 million and £17 million a year which is higher than William Hill’s losses during the coronavirus pandemic. As Flutter Entertainment has paved the way, will Ireland follow suit the UK’s regulation to block credit card gambling?
Gambling Regulation in Ireland
Gambling has become an integral part of Irish life chiefly during the dramatic increase of online gambling. Not only have the players adopted local sportsbooks and horse racing as hobbies but they also enjoy spending time playing online casino games. The first gambling laws in this nation were established after the independence beginning with the Betting Act in 1926. The regulations relating to gambling were adopted in 1956 called the Gaming and Lotteries Act.
This Act prohibits the land-based casinos in this country which is still in force to this day. Furthermore, the new acts to regulate gambling in this country were passed in 2013 by the Fine Gael-Labour government with the Gambling Control Bill 2013. Under the regulations in force on gambling and betting; brick and mortar casinos are still illegal in Ireland but people can have fun with the betting establishments available in this territory. However, the private clubs are allowed to provide slot machines, roulette and blackjack tables, poker rooms, and betting machines. As for online gambling, both online casinos and online sportsbooks are legal meaning that the Irish are able to play online casino games in a fully legal way.
Ireland’s Growing Gambling Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic has increased gamblers’ involvement in gambling. As the players have to move away from land-based gambling and betting, they spend more time and money on online gambling activities. The longer they have spent gambling, the higher is the risk of being affected by gambling problems. The findings of a survey stated that almost two-thirds of Irish people over 18 participated in some form of gambling. More than 55,000 men and women claimed to experience serious gambling-related problems, an alarming situation. Gambling Awareness Trust (GAT) reported that no specific public health scheme had been developed to treat people who had gambling problems.
This independent charity recommended the establishment of a strong regulatory regime for gambling in this country. With this expected new regulator, the gambling sector there will be regulated by prohibiting gambling with a credit card and by launching a strict and powerful national self-exclusion programme. The regulatory authority is also expected to ensure that operators implement advertising campaigns responsibly which are not impacted minors.
When Do Regulations Come Into Force?
Barry Grant, Problem Gambling Ireland chief executive stated that credit card gambling was a serious problem in Ireland so the country must have followed in the UK’s footsteps. This CEO also added that the majority of the gamblers who used credit cards were racking up huge debts as they used these payment options without being aware of the consequences. Credit card gambling can lead to significant financial harm because the bookmakers and the banks should not allow their customers to use these payment methods.
A project to ban credit cards from being used for online gambling in Ireland is on the government’s agenda but it is not likely to come into effect until 2023. The 2013 Gambling Control Bill, originally conducted by the former Minister for Justice and Equality, Alan Joseph Shatter did not specify the ban of the credit card. Nonetheless, this Act failed after years of extremely slow progress in the Oireachtas. With the ongoing work to reduce gambling harm in this country, the new legislation is expected to be released this summer, and hope that the gambling credit card prohibition is included in this new regulation.