Three new pledges
Gambling operator Flutter Entertainment has announced a series of new safer gambling measures for its brands in Ireland, including Paddy Power, Betfair, and Sky Bet.
In a company statement released on Monday, Connor Grant, CEO of Flutter’s UK and Ireland division, said the business aimed to “enhance the effectiveness” of its safer gambling policies in Ireland. Flutter announced the move on its Twitter page the same morning:
The changes include three measures. Flutter will prohibit the use of credit cards for both online and retail gambling and will introduce a “whistle-to-whistle” ban on television advertisements during live sporting events. In addition, the company has agreed to increase its investment in safer gambling research, education, and treatment to €3m ($3.6m) by 2023.
Further details of the measures
In its Monday statement, Flutter agreed to implement its credit card ban in early April. The operator said that a number of technological changes will occur in the coming weeks to allow that to happen. The move will prohibit Irish customers of Paddy Power, Betfair, or Sky Bet from adding credit cards or using existing ones on their accounts.
The ad ban will run from five minutes before sporting events to five minutes after.
In regards to its “whistle-to-whistle” ad ban, Flutter said the changes will take place starting May 1, 2021. Similar to a measure imposed in the UK in 2019, it will see advertising restricted on live sports broadcasts before 9pm. The ad ban will run from five minutes before sporting events to five minutes after. This excludes horse racing and greyhound racing.
In its final commitment, Flutter revealed plans to increase donations to Irish safer gambling organizations over the next three years. The €3m total will ultimately reflect 1% of the company’s net gaming revenue from Irish operations. This will mainly go toward the Gambling Awareness Trust, in addition to other “emerging initiatives.”
Getting ahead of legislation
Commenting on the introduction of the new measures, Flutter UK and Ireland boss Connor Grant described a need to respond to gambling’s “technological transformation” with the emergence of mobile gaming and social media. He said the company decided to introduce the measures “well in advance” of any new gambling legislation.
Irish gambling law is based on legislation passed in the 1950s
Similar to the UK, Ministers in Ireland have been mulling an overhaul of the country’s gambling law for some time. Current Irish gambling law is based on legislation passed in the 1950s. The country’s market is still without an official regulator, and the rise of sports betting and iGaming has led to the call for change.
As part of this reform, the Irish government intends to introduce an official gambling regulator by this fall. James Browne, Ireland’s Minister of State for Law Reform, has pledged to introduce further amendments throughout 2021 to update the country’s gambling laws.