Gambling Legislation

Ireland’s reforms gambling laws cause disturbances in the market

The updated laws would ban almost all gambling advertising on TV and radio

Ireland’s intended ban on broadcasting gambling ads as part of a revamp of gaming legislation has raised concerns about providing live sporting events, including football and horse racing. After initially rejecting the proposal in January, Ireland’s Department of Justice announced in April that it was ready to support progress on the Gambling Regulation Bill under its 2023 Justice Plan. The law includes various measures to protect players and prevent excessive spending.

The proposed ban, if passed, would ban gambling advertising on television, radio, and social media sites from 5:30 am to 9 pm. This law aims to protect children from the full impact of gambling advertising on various media platforms.

Bookmakers raised their concerns with Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and Minister of State James Browne, warning that the proposed law could disrupt live sports broadcasts with betting advertising. Promotions from bookmakers are often seen in stadiums and players’ uniforms for sporting events.

The Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA) has highlighted the possible impact on English league football, which enjoys a large following in the Republic of Ireland. However, industry data suggests that other events, such as Cheltenham and Aintree, could suffer from the increased presence of bookmakers’ advertisements. At the same time, Ireland’s Labor Party supports a total ban on gambling advertising and expresses concern about the harms of gambling and the link between sports and betting.

Pay TV horse racing broadcasters Sky Sports Racing and Racing TV have expressed concern over the proposed ban. They are examining the effectiveness of their operations in Ireland if the law is implemented in its current form. Both seek exemptions for horseracing broadcasters, arguing that their subscription system already ensures the safety of their customers. However, so far, the government doesn’t appear to be willing to play on the same field.

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