Irish Bookmakers to Introduce Sports Betting Advert Ban
Irish Online and retail bookmakers will be introducing a UK style ‘whistle-to-whistle ban on advertisements during televised sporting events. The trade body’s new code also includes a credit card ban.
Irish bookmakers, both online and retail, have agreed to introduce an advertising ban during live sports.
Similar to the UK, operators will not show commercials offering betting products while televising major sporting events. The ban, which will apply to events aired before 9 pm, will come into effect five minutes before the event starts and will last until five minutes later.
As with the voluntary ban that applies to the UK market, gambling companies will not be permitted to sponsor sporting programmes except for horseracing and greyhound events.
The trade body representing the interests of operators in Ireland, the Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA), has introduced this ban as part of its push for safer gambling.
It has recently updated its Code of Practice to include the advertisement ban and has also advised members not to accept credit card payments for any gambling transaction.
Unlike Britain, which outlawed credit card payment for both online and offline gambling in April last year, it is still legal to bet using credit cards. Although IBA advises operators not to accept credit cards, the Code of Practice isn’t legally binding.
Some of the larger Irish-facing operators, such as Flutter Entertainment which owns the popular Paddy Power and betfair brands, have already started to make the changes; the trade body has asked its members to comply by the end of the current year.
All current members, including BoyleSports, Flutter and Entain, have agreed to the changes in the code. In addition, other major operators who are not represented by the trade body have also agreed to implement these changes. These operators include bet365, Betway and the Kindred Group.
Sharon Byrne, the IBA chairperson, said the industry recognised a need to introduce new, safer gambling standards. She believed that introducing the gambling advertisement ban and the restriction on using credit cards would be “significant steps” towards raising these standards.
“The IBA has long called for the establishment of a regulator in Ireland, and we welcome the government’s commitment to legislating for that in the coming period.
“This code is not the answer to problem gambling, and we believe there is more that can be done within the forum provided by a regulator.
“However, we believe that these measures continue the journey the industry has been on in recent years to ensure standards are increased for all,” she added.
William Hill, however, will not be one of the operators who will be implementing either the advertisement or credit card ban. The bookmaker has instead stated that it would wait until concrete legislation was introduced before making any changes.
The operator has just an online presence in the country and has not joined IBA due to the trade body representing the retail sector. However, industry insiders believe the operator would join the collective if the scope of membership were widened.
Although the code is not legally binding as previously stated, IBA has stated that it hopes that gambling companies will go above and beyond the recommendations in its Code of Practice.
Ireland is in a similar situation to the United Kingdom with reform of current regulations promised by politicians. Reform of historic gambling laws has been high on agendas, but change has been delayed due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak.