SBC News Majority of Ireland believe people should be free to bet responsibly in Lottoland poll

Majority of Ireland believe people should be free to bet responsibly in Lottoland poll

Three quarters of people in Ireland are against the outright ban of betting in the country, a study from Ireland Thinks on behalf of Lottoland has revealed.

The research, which comes as the Government’s Gambling Regulation Bill 2022 enters the final stage of the legislative process, also indicated that 64% believe that people should be free to bet responsibly.

Meanwhile, of those that currently bet, it was detailed that almost one fifth (19%) would seek alternative methods of gambling in the event that betting is restricted in Ireland. 

This in fact mirrors the results found in a recent PWC analysis, which found that the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Norway and Sweden have all witnessed growth in the black market, with growth of between 20% to 66% of all bets staked with black market providers.

Ireland is in the midst of regulatory change, with the aforementioned Gambling Regulation Bill introduced last November. Changes have included the creation of a new regulator, the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland, but some have been calling for action to go further, such as imposing heavy restrictions on advertising.

Mike Kirwan, Vice President of Lottoland, commented: “We recognise the overarching objectives of the Bill to regulate our sector for the first time and to establish robust regulatory oversight and accountability in the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland (GRAI).

“Lottoland remain firmly committed to the development and adoption of a comprehensive, evidence-based legislative framework for the gambling, betting, and lotteries sector in Ireland.

“But we also believe that what is set in legislation now will be vital to ensuring an effective, agile, and sustainable framework in the longer term – whilst still providing for an enjoyable yet safer gambling experience for all customers.”

Overall, the results of the poll demonstrate that the Irish public are in favour of a sensible approach to the regulation of the sector, which sees increased regulation and harm reduction, without coming at the cost of individual’s ability to bet responsibly.

The company has also urged Ireland’s Minister of Justice, James Browne – the government minister who introduced the gambling regulation bill to the Oireachtas parliament – and the GRAI to re-engage with industry experts and listen to their concerns. 

Concerns have been raised that the new laws suffer from ‘an absence of clear and robust definitions’, and if passed, would have a range of unintended consequences stemming from a range of legal issues.

“We therefore urge Minister Browne to re-engage with our sector, to listen to our concerns and to ensure that this piece of legislation contains clear and robust definitions, which works to effectively protect consumers,” Kirwan concluded.

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