Bookmakers in Ireland have agreed to a ban on the use of credit cards online and in shops, for Irish customers, as well as a pre-watershed “whistle-to-whistle” advertising restriction for live sport.
he two initiatives are part of an updated code of practice for safer gambling introduced by the Irish Bookmakers’ Association’s (IBA), which outlines a set of industry commitments across a range of player protection measures.
All IBA members, including Boylesports, Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment and Ladbrokes owner Entain, will adopt the latest version of the code.
Other significant operators set to adopt the code include Bet365, Betway and The Kindred Group, which counts brands such as 32Red.
IBA chair Sharon Byrne said the body recognised the need for the industry to develop the highest standards for safer gambling and that the credit card ban and whistle-to-whistle restrictions are “significant steps on that path”.
“The IBA has long called for the establishment of a regulator in Ireland, and we welcome the Government’s commitment to legislating for that in the coming period,” she said.
“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.
“However, we believe that these measures continue the journey the industry has been on in recent years to ensure standards are increased for all.”
The code, adopted by all IBA members and most licensed online companies operating a sportsbook or casino in Ireland, will be fully operational this year. It represents a set of minimum commitments by the industry.
According to the IBA, the code has been updated overall, but the two primary changes are related to credit cards and advertising.
Through the code, operators are committing to the removal of credit cards as a payment method online and in shops. This change is already in place for some operators, including Flutter. The IBA said others will make the technological changes as soon as possible and no later than the end of the year.
The industry will also introduce a whistle-to-whistle advertising restriction for TV advertising on live sport before 9pm. This removal of ads will involve live sporting events and will run from five minutes before the event until five minutes after. It will not include horseracing or greyhound racing.
“We believe these are important changes for customers and represent the single widest industry initiative seen in Ireland since the introduction of Safer Gambling Week,” Ms Byrne said.
“We hope that those few operators who have not endorsed the code will do so before long.
“And we look forward to working with the proposed regulator to adopt further evidence-based measures.”