Irish bookies have called for an independent regulator to be set up to investigate issues of problem gambling in Ireland and are urging for this to be done as soon as reasonably possible.
The Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA) are the ones speaking out about the issue; they want the regulator to help give a clearer understanding of the nature and scale of the problem in Ireland. The IBA represents numerous bookmakers, including behemoths Paddy Power-Betfair, Ladbrokes, and Boylesports, amongst others. Indeed, they represent the major part of the industry in Ireland. They are meeting this week with local Irish members of Parliament to further clarify their requests and push this forward.
IBA Chairwoman Sarah Byrne has suggested that the regulator first be set up to investigate the extent of the problem before having further powers to act conferred upon it once the government review of the long-delayed Gambling Control Bill has finally been completed. This is another sign of the immense frustration concerning these long delays that’s found in the Irish gambling industry, as well as amongst the public, at the moment.
Right now, gambling companies are not legally required to contribute any funds towards the research or treatment of gambling addiction or problem gambling cases, which is something else the IBA wishes to see changed. They have seen various changes brought about in the past based on IBA initiatives, including a national network of counsellors to help those with problem gambling issues as well as the establishment of a dedicated helpline for related purposes.
Paddy Power specifically have been very proactive through this process, speaking out about their plans to introduce more protections for their players, including a tool to limit their play according to maximum acceptable losses over a period of time, rather than according to the more usual system deposit limits (Paddy Power also features these.) They are also rolling out a system whereby players may view the net deposits and losses for their lifetime of play on the site, in the wake of their technological integration with Betfair systems.
It is heartening to see such productive and conscious efforts on the part of bookmakers in the industry, perhaps somewhat assisted by Ireland’s very favourable 1% tax rates for gambling companies. That notwithstanding, it’s a very good thing, and one can only imagine the frustration players and operators alike must feel at the halting and interminable lack of progress seen from the government in their “reform” of the Gambling Control Bill.
Source: CDC Gaming Reports