As Ireland advances gambling reform, a new initiative is underway to ban a popular betting activity. A campaign is underway to prohibit sportsbooks from taking wagers on the outcome of the National Lottery draws.
Supporters believe that a ban will result in more money for community projects as well as shops that sell lottery tickets. Senator Barry Ward introduced the bill and is optimistic that the legislation will find approval after the government indicated its initial support for the proposal.
While the government may be amenable to the concept, it wants to see some changes in the bill’s structure. That could come as early as tomorrow, according to media outlet Independent.ie. The Seanad, the Irish government’s upper house, will hold a debate to amend the National Lottery Act on Tuesday.
Less Betting, More Gambling
Ward stated that projections show that the National Lottery will add between €20 million to €140 million (US$20.25 million to $140.1 million) to its gross revenue if the government approves the legislation. He added that the “real figure is likely somewhere in the middle.” However, the wide range of figures is a clear indication that not enough research has gone into determining the true economic benefit.
In addition, the politician points out that purchasing a €1 (US$1.01) lottery ticket provides €0.27 (US$0.27) in economic benefit to worthwhile causes. In addition, it also gives a percentage of the fee directly to the retailer, plus there are tax implications for the government from the winnings.
Aine Myler, chief executive of Charities Institute Ireland, stated that other changes could improve the allocation of lottery revenue to good causes in Ireland. However, she also believes that there is a direct correlation between increased Lotto sales and community benefits.
Myler said that the measure will align Ireland with other European countries. Several have lotteries but don’t allow them to be gambled on at betting shops. Similar efforts have appeared in the UK and elsewhere, although not always with the outcome lawmakers expected.
On the other hand, sometimes it is. Germany’s new gambling regulator is telling Lottoland to get out of the country. After offering illegal lottery gambling in Germany “for years,” the platform now faces severe penalties if it doesn’t comply. It could also face criminal charges.
Bookmakers Clap Back
Supporters of the bill also assert that those betting on lottery outcomes will become National Lottery players if the legislation is approved. There is little public evidence to support this as a viable argument, however.
That monopolistic mentality reduces the competitive nature that drives innovation. So, if the National Lottery wants to attract more attention, it has to find a way to beat the competition.
Bookmakers claim that their lottery bet products have been available for around three decades. As a result, there is still room for them and the Lotto. They also assert that their customers would not automatically switch to National Lottery gaming.
However, shop owners are lobbying for the government to approve the bill. Retailers want to see new legislation. As a result, they have solicited the Retail Grocery Dairy and Allied Trades Association (RGDATA) to help.
The trade group represents over 4,000 independent grocery and convenience stores in Ireland. It is rallying its forces to pressure the government to side with it. Before any final approval, though, the Seanad will need to weigh in and determine how it wants the legislation to read.
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