Ireland Lawmakers Consider Gambling Credit Card Ban
The Dáil is considering a blanket credit card ban when it comes to online and in-person gambling activities.
Ireland’s parliament is considering a full credit card ban regarding online and in-person gambling services in the country. The Dáil has been considering a ban of such transactions in the hopes of helping problem gamblers from spending too much money. The National Lottery has reportedly made the decision to introduce the ban and bookmakers want to see optional moves made so that they can continue to offer services without payment issues.
Details of the Ban
Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould introduced the Betting (Prohibition on Use of Credit Cards) Bill, which will stop players from using credit cards in any instance when it comes to gambling. Operators want to see optional bans put in place so that credit cards can be accepted due to specific circumstances. According to Gould, this won’t work.
He says that optional bans can be withdrawn or changed easily. He pointed out if bookmakers are losing money or customers due to the bans, where does it leave the vulnerable people. With the new bill, it cuts out credit card usage so that vulnerable people will not be able to spend more than they can afford on gambling.
According to the bill, any operator that does not comply if the measure is put in place could lose its license to operate. The bill was introduced at a time when around 55,000 individuals in Ireland are subject to a serious gambling problem.
Gould says the bill will provide a protective measure that was required since the onset of the Gambling Control bill in 2013, but it has not been introduced yet. The Government says that a gambling regulator will be added by the end of 2021 and begin operating immediately.
Increase Since COVID-19
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there seems to be an increase in gambling issues among Ireland residents. As people are sticking closer to home, they are taking part in gambling in a variety of ways. Fine Gael Senator Joe O’Reilly stated that charities are reporting that there has been an almost 50% increase in people with gambling problems since COVID started last year.
Residents are moving towards online gambling, be it with smartphones or desktop computers. Players are taking part in the activity, be it sports betting or poker. The hope of this new measure is that the number of people with gambling issues will start to decrease as credit card payments are taken out of the equation.
Also in the mix is a new bill by Fine Gael Senator Barry Ward. His legislation seeks to stop betting shops and gambling operators in the commercial and private sector from following the Lottery and offering bets on its numbers.
There are plenty of bookmakers in Ireland that offer bets on the outcome of lottery drawings. This is yet another way to gamble on a gamble, which could lead to major problems among the vulnerable population.
Ward pointed out that when people bet on the Lotto numbers, they are not betting to play the actual lottery. This leads to a loss of revenues for the lottery, with funds falling short to provide for good causes such as helping with gambling addiction.
For now, the government has decided to let the bill move forward and be considered. It is unclear if the measure has enough support, or if it will fall flat as it moves to the committee stage for consideration.