SBC News William Hill upholds IBA code banning Irish credit card transactions

William Hill upholds IBA code banning Irish credit card transactions

William Hill will stop accepting credit card payments in the Republic of Ireland from Wednesday onwards, according to the Irish Independent

Use of credit cards for betting purposes is currently discouraged in Ireland by the Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA) as one of the principles of the Irish Safer Gambling Code, introduced in August 2021 by the IBA in agreement with Ireland’s active betting firms.

Caveats of the code include participation in the government’s Gambling Prevalence Study, ‘voluntary contributions’ to the ‘Social Responsibility Fund’ (SRF) and an end to credit card wagering.

At the time, the IBA reported that the new measures had the support of BarOne, bet365, BetMcLean, BetWay, BoyleSports, Casumo, Chieftain, Entain, Flutter Entertainment, QuinnBet, SBO Bet, Sean Graham, Track Sports and Tully Bookmakers.

However, the organisation informed the Irish Independent that it has no power to officially enforce its anti-credit card requirements as the Irish government has not legally prohibited the payment method as of yet. 

The outlet reported earlier this month that a number of betting firms were either directly – in the case of BetVictor – or indirectly via methods such as Google Pay and Revolut – in the case of Wiliam Hill and others – accepting credit card transactions.

The paper also alleges that although Google and Apple had provided a tool for betting companies to prevent credit card payments, ‘at least one’ operator has actively ignored and avoided using the method. 

In response to the Irish Independent’s criticism, William Hill will no longer accept credit cards from Wednesday 16 February onwards, and plans to inform its Irish customers of the decision. 

Informing the outlet, William Hill stated: “It‘s our ambition that nobody is harmed by gambling and we’re getting in touch to let you know that we will be voluntarily removing credit card deposits as a payment option.”

The development comes as Irish legislators prepare the first overhaul of the country’s regulatory framework since 1956 after passing the ‘Interim Gaming and Lotteries Act’ in 2021. Predicted changes including the enactment of bans on credit card payments and a rumoured prohibition of free bets, as well as the creation of a national gambling regulator. 

However, the overhaul has been repeatedly delayed, firstly in 2020 following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the implementation of new legal precedents and the establishment of a regulatory body not expected until later this year or possibly 2023. 

Despite some setbacks, Betting incumbents and the Irish public have been assured that the regulator will be ‘extremely powerful’ by James Browne, the government’s Minister of State for Justice.

Browne stated last year that the new watchdog will employ 100 people and maintain the power to develop regulations and codes of standards, and will also be able to impose fines when in cases of non-compliance.

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