Monday, May 20, 2024

Industry Source Criticises Preferential Treatment of Political Fundraising Lotteries in Ireland’s Gambling Regulation Bill 2022

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John Drennan John Drennan, a political columnist for and other Irish news websites, wrote on Tuesday that fundraising lotteries organised by political parties will not need to adhere to the Gambling Regulation Bill’s €10 stake limit. This exemption presents a problem of “favourable treatment,” according to an industry source.

As specified in the new bill, lotteries and other prize competitions like the Cash Machine will need to implement a €10 cap on bets, and a win limit of €3,000 is also included in the rules. This piece of legislation has become a cause for worry among industry players, and The Irish Times recently gave Lottoland’s vice-president, Mike Kirwan, the opportunity to voice concerns over the ambiguous nature of the bill and how the limits could negatively affect Lottoland. Mr Kirwan also expressed worry that Lottoland has been unable to discuss the matter with the Minister of State at the Department of Justice, James Browne.

The above limitations will apply to neither the National Lottery nor lotteries that have a charitable cause. However, as Mr Drennan specified, political parties do not fall under the designation of “charity” as ruled by Ireland’s Supreme Court. Yet, according to one source, politician-led lotteries will be free to set the stake limits as they please, and no restrictions will be imposed in terms of the money raised either. As confirmed by one minister, political parties are indeed “covered by boutique legislation.” Mr Drennan also clarified that the Electoral Reform Act 2022 is what political parties’ lotteries will follow the rules of, just as they have thus far.

Members of the gambling industry will need to wait for further clarification to be provided in the future since Leo Varadkar’s resignation and the changes necessitated by this have resulted in delays.

Other Issues Tied to the Gambling Bill

LotteriesLotteries Apart from the stake and win limits imposed on lotteries, another aspect of the bill that has become a point of connotation is the proposed partial ban on gambling ads. If passed, television and radio broadcasters will only be permitted to air adverts tied to gambling between 9pm and 5:30am. Networks and members of the Irish horse racing scene alike have been critical of this measure, with horse racing channels, in particular, calling for subscription-based platforms to be exempt. What is more, in 2023, Sky Sports Racing revealed that the channel was considering leaving Ireland if the pre-watershed ban were implemented, seeing as it would harm Sky Sports Racing’s revenue to the point where continuing to operate in the country would become “unviable.”

Last week, the Irish Independent reported that horse racing groups have proposed a 24-hour ban to be implemented instead. However, according to the horse racing industry, such a ban would need to come with the previously requested condition that the prohibition does not apply to channels requiring a subscription.

Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.

Daniel WilliamsDaniel Williams

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