Irish Opposition Proposes Credit Card Gambling Ban

October 8, 2021
A new bill in Ireland that would ban the use of credit cards to gamble has been called a “no brainer” as it cleared its first hurdle without any opposition.


A new bill in Ireland that would ban the use of credit cards to gamble has been called a “no brainer” as it cleared its first hurdle without any opposition.

Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould told the Dáil Éireann on Wednesday (October 6) that the Betting (Prohibition on Use of Credit Cards) Bill 2021 will “completely ban the use of credit cards for gambling online and in betting shops”.

The proposed bill would amend Betting Act 1931.

James Browne, the minister of state at the Department of Justice, did not debate against the bill.

The only comments on the proposal came from Seán Ó Fearghaíl, a member of Fianna Fáil, the largest party in the government’s current coalition, who congratulated Gould on introducing it.

However, Gould said he was “disappointed” to have to introduce the bill.

The Sinn Féin politician accused Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael of breaking their promises to introduce a gambling control bill, critiquing the government for not following through on gambling reforms since the general scheme of the Gambling Control Bill was published eight years ago.

“Numerous deadlines have been missed. The last of those was only six days ago, at the end of quarter three. Once again we had been promised that the [gambling control] bill would be published, but that did not happen,” Gould said.

He claims his credit card bill would be unnecessary if the government had already created an independent regulator, with its own powers to introduce player protection measures.

The Irish government’s latest timeline on modernising gambling laws said an independent regulator would not be fully functional until at least 2023.

In August, Sinn Féin released its “26 County Gambling Strategy”, demanding the immediate creation of a regulator and a shopping list of other changes, including a credit card gambling ban.

Under his bill, Gould said the Revenue Commissioners will not issue licences via the Betting Act to operators unless they block bets directly or indirectly from a credit card.

Operators that do not comply would lose their licences.

In the past, justice minister Browne has backed a credit card gambling ban, calling it a “very sensible provision and one that some of the gambling operators have voluntarily adopted".

Since April, Flutter, which has its headquarters in Dublin, has banned the use of credit cards to gamble online and in its land-based shops in Ireland.

Gambling with a credit card has been banned in Great Britain since April 2020.

However, consumers in Northern Ireland can still use a credit card to gamble and there is no mention of a ban in the recently submitted Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Amendment) Bill.

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