Sportsbooks in Ireland Are Banning Credit Cards and Live Sports Ads

  • Online and in-store betting operations will no longer accept credit card payments for wagers
  • The two measures are part of the IBA’s updated code of practice for safer gambling
  • The ad ban covers live televised sport before 9pm, excluding greyhound and horse racing
  • Betting operators will have to implement the required changes by the end of the year
  • The IBA is also calling for the creation of a national gambling regulator to further protect players
close-up of credit card details
Sportsbook operators in Ireland will soon no longer accept credit cards and must comply with a whistle-to-whistle ban on gambling ads during live sport. [Image:]

Two major measures

Sportsbooks in Ireland have come to an agreement that they will no longer accept credit cards as a form of payment both online and in-store wagering. They have also accepted a whistle-to-whistle ban on gambling ads during pre-watershed televised live sports.

various commitments from the industry with regard to player protection

The two measures are a part of the latest version of the Irish Bookmakers Association’s (IBA) code of practice for safer gambling. This updated version of the Safer Gambling Code, released Sunday, lists various commitments from the industry with regard to player protection.

The IBA was started in 2005 and is the biggest representative body for the sportsbook industry in Ireland.

Operators committed to making changes

All of the IBA members, including Flutter Entertainment, BoyleSports, Entain, the Kindred Group, Betway, and Bet365, will be adopting the most recent version of the code. The updated code will become fully operational in 2021 and marks a set of minimum commitments that the industry will meet.

Some operators, including Flutter, have already removed credit cards from the possible payment options. Other businesses will be making the required changes as quickly as possible, and certainly by the end of the year.

The whistle-to-whistle gambling ad ban will pertain to live televised sport that takes place before 9pm. The restriction covers five minutes before the beginning of the event and will last until five minutes after it ends. The ban does not cover greyhound racing or horse racing events.

Flutter Entertainment owns numerous major gambling brands, including Paddy Power. In February, it committed to introducing new safer gambling measures in Ireland, outlining three key changes. It implemented a ban on credit cards in April and a ban on whistle-to-whistle ads in May. Finally, it committed to increasing its donations to safer gambling charities to 1% of its Irish revenue.

Protecting Irish gamblers

IBA chairperson Sharon Byrne said the industry was aware of the need to introduce the highest safe gambling standards, calling the two new measures “significant steps on that path.”

Byrne added that, while progress has been made in recent years, “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.” The IBA has been calling for the creation of a gambling regulator in Ireland for some time. The Irish government has committed to introducing such a body in the near future and to updating the country’s main gambling legislation.

so much damage to families and individuals”

Irish President Michael D. Higgins last month described the exposure that Irish people have to gambling-related ads as a “scourge”. Having met with people who have struggled with gambling addiction, he welcomed a debate on the topic of gambling ads, referring to the “dangerous gambling advertisements which continue to cause so much damage to families and individuals.”

Other nations also have similar restrictions when it comes to credit cards and whistle-to-whistle ad bans. The neighboring UK authorities introduced a ban on the use of credit cards for gambling purposes in April 2020. The idea behind it was to stop people from using debt accumulating payment methods to fund their gambling. The UK has had a whistle-to-whistle ban on gambling ads in place since August 2019.  

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