Ireland’s betting sector has agreed to introduce a “comprehensive set of industry commitments” after the Irish Bookmakers’ Association published its code of practise for safer gambling.
Becoming the latest in a series of initiatives to promote safe and responsible gambling, the changes to be implemented include an industry-wide ban on the use of credit cards, both online and in shops, as well as a pre-watershed whistle-to-whistle advertising ban for live sport.
Sharon Byrne, IBA chair, explained: “We recognise that there is a need for the industry to continue to develop the highest of standards for safer gambling.
“We believe in particular, that the credit card ban and the ‘whistle-to-whistle’ advertising 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 legislate for that in the coming period.
“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 the majority of licensed online companies operating a sportsbook or casino in Ireland, is lauded as being “ground-breaking in its reach”, and will be fully operational during this year.
Operators are committing to the removal of credit cards as a payment method both online and in Ireland’s retail outlets. This change is already in place for some operators, and others will make the necessary technological changes within their business as soon as is possible, by no later than the end of the year.
The industry will also introduce a restriction on TV advertising on live sport before 9pm. This removal of advertising will involve live sporting events and will run from five minutes before the event until five minutes after, and will not include horseracing or greyhound racing.
New marketing standards will be applied to Ireland’s sports sponsorships, with operators not allowed to display their logo or name on any commercial merchandising which is designed for use by children. Operators will also ensure team sponsorship messaging includes safer gambling messaging where possible.
Launching Irish betting new responsibility mandate, the IBA stated that the code carried the support of BarOne, bet365, BetMcLean, BetWay, Boylesports, Casumo, Chieftain, Entain, Flutter Entertainment, Fox’s betting, QuinnBet, SBO Bet, Sean Graham, Track Sports and Tully Bookmakers.
“We believe these are important changes for customers” added Byrne, “and represent the single widest industry initiative seen in Ireland since the introduction of Safer Gambling Week.
“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.”