Monday, June 17, 2024

RTÉ running gambling ads on ‘player’ as anti-betting advertising law stalls in Oireachtas

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Ads for 888 Casino and Mr Green currently feature in some of RTÉ’s most listened-to radio slots on its radio player amid rise in estimate of ‘Irish problem gamblers’

Listeners tuning in for the Angelus at midday today heard an Irish voice urging people to “elevate your gaming experience with Mr Green,” the major online gambling operator.

The ad then cautioned users that “in the pursuit of pleasure, we urge you to embrace responsibility. Set your deposit limits and last thresholds. Visit greengaming.com for the tools needed to keep your gaming both safe and delightful.”

Those opening RTÉ’s radio app for Claire Byrne’s popular radio show heard similar ads for 888 Casino, one of Europe’s biggest online gambling firms.

The ads come as the government proceeds slowly through debates and procedural amendments to its Gambling Regulation Bill 2002, which aims to prohibit ads for online gambling on social media and on-demand radio and video players, unless someone has subscribed to it or has given explicit consent to receiving the gambling ads.

The Bill would also set up a gambling regulatory authority, which would oversee enforcement of the law.

However, it has been stuck in the Dáil’s process since December 2022.

In recent weeks, charities have voiced concern over the impact the new law could have on lotteries they run, while large media organisations, including Sky Sports and Racing TV, have threatened to withdraw televised coverage of Irish racing events because of the law.

According to recent research from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), problem gambling is 10 times more common in Ireland than previously thought – with one in 30 adults suffering from negative experiences associated with betting.

The ESRI research found that problem gamblers were each spending an average of more than €1,000 a month on gambling. ​

The research also found that significant amounts of the industry’s profits are coming from people who are struggling with gambling.

The ESRI found that almost half of the €5.5bn spent on gambling every year is estimated to come from people who are experiencing “multiple negative effects” from betting.

A previous Irish Independent investigation found that mainstream gambling firms were allowing bets from credit cards against industry codes.

“Advertising from bookmakers on the RTÉ radio app operates under the same guidelines as RTÉ Radio,” said a spokesperson for RTÉ. This means that no advertising from bookmakers is permitted between 5.00am and 10.00am. As with all policies, RTÉ’s gambling policy is kept under review and will again be reviewed once the Gambling Regulation Bill has been signed into law to ensure RTÉ is fully compliant. RTÉ adheres to the Coimisiún na Meán General Communications Code and to the ASAI Code.”

A spokesperson for Coimisiún na Meán said that it “does not regulate audio services provided over the internet” and that responsibility for such gambling ads on RTÉ’s radio player “will rest with the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland”, to be set up under the government’s stalled Gambling Regulation Bill.

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