Ireland is in the midst of updating its more than archaic gambling laws. However, this process can be worsened if this proposal is added to the final bill. Here’s what you have to know.
The battle for the Gambling and Lotteries Amendment Bill
Even if you haven’t been following our news section for a while, you must know that Ireland is actively updating its gambling regulation. The law under which the gambling industry runs is over 50 years old and doesn’t account for newer forms of gambling. That’s why an amendment was proposed as far back as 2013. Since then, it was a long and rocky road, but the country is making significant progress now.
Earlier this year, the Bill has completely passed Seanad Éireann Committees and is now being considered in Dáil Éireann. If everything goes smoothly, the Bill is going to be ready in a couple of months.
But now, there’s a complication that may make the life of Irish bookies harder, not easier.
The National Lottery asks for a ban on lottery betting
The National Lottery, a government-run party with a vested interest in the gambling market, is now asking the Committee to add a ban on lottery betting to the Amendment Bill. They say that bookies that take bets on the lottery outcomes steal revenue from the National Lottery.
As the argument goes, the National Lottery is of the utmost importance to the state, and thus it shouldn’t have any competition. If a bookie takes a bet on lottery outcomes, they steal a potential client from the National Lottery. This makes the prize pool smaller and budget contributions from the lottery shrink as well.
The lottery representatives claim that such betting format steals up to €400 million from the National Lottery revenue. They go as far as calling bookies who accept bets on lottery “parasites.”
The bookmakers’ reply
The war between the National Lottery and the bookies has been ongoing since 2017. The lottery revenue has begun shrinking that year, so the operator blamed everything on the bookies taking bets on the lottery.
The bookies say that statement is incorrect, as there are more causes to that than merely lottery bettors running off to bookies. Even though there are quite a lot of those, the gambling industry always produces new products that may act as a substitute. The study produced by PLI, the company that runs the National Lottery, disregards this fact and just blames everything on the bookies. They also fail to mention the fact that the Irish Lottery is far from being the most modern product on the market.
When you operate in a competitive field, you have to either up your standards or get out. That’s what the bookies say to PLI.
It’s also worth noting that the specific bookies’ revenue amount to approximately 0.25% of the National Lottery draw, so calling them parasitic is misguided, to say the least.
A government-run company lobbying for monopoly rights
PLI now has an exclusive right on the only lottery that’s held in Ireland. With their business stagnating, they refuse to up their game and just want to be the only company on the market that has any access to lottery-related matters. In doing that, they want to get small betting operators out of business.
Our hope is that the Committees that look into the matter understand the issue well enough to refuse this baffling proposal.