Date: 29.05.2024

by Kajetan Sawicz

Ireland’s Gambling Reform Faces Intense Lobbying Amidst Proposed Legislation

Ireland’s politicians are currently navigating a relentless surge of lobbying efforts surrounding the proposed new gambling laws. These laws are being championed by the Government to mitigate a “tsunami of social problems” attributed to the current gambling environment.

Lobbying Pressures on Gambling Legislation

The lobbying activity in Leinster House has intensified as the gambling bill progresses through the Oireachtas, Ireland’s parliament.

Notable figures such as Professor Colin O’Gara, a consultant psychiatrist, have expressed concerns over the persistent influence of the gambling sector, particularly on junior justice minister James Browne. O’Gara emphasizes the urgency of passing the legislation, which he believes has been delayed excessively due to these influences.

Charities Concerned Over Fundraising

While bookmakers and horse-racing representatives have been vocal in their lobbying efforts, numerous charities have raised alarms about the potential negative impacts of the new laws on their fundraising activities, including lotteries and raffles.

Organizations like Arthritis Ireland and Laura Lynn Children’s Hospice fear that advertising restrictions could severely curtail their ability to raise necessary funds.

Government Response and Considerations

In response to these concerns, Minister Browridge has signaled openness to amending the legislation to exempt certain charitable activities from stringent measures.

This acknowledgment is seen as a balancing act between mitigating the harm caused by gambling and ensuring the viability of charitable fundraising efforts.

Industry’s Pushback

Entities such as Horse Racing Ireland, Flutter, and the Irish Bookmakers Association have been proactive in communicating the potential unintended consequences of the legislation to lawmakers.

Their efforts underline the industry’s concern over regulatory measures that might impede their operations or affect the broader horse racing industry.