The leading trade association in Europe has scolded the Irish Government for its lack of action on gambling regulation, saying that such behaviour is putting local players at risk of becoming gambling addicts.
The secretary-general of the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), Maarten Haijer, explained that the long waiting period for the implementation of the Gambling Control Bill of 2013 was affecting local problem gamblers, as more people could be hurt by the devastating impact of gambling. For the time being, Ladbrokes, bet365 and other gambling companies are part of the Association, but the latter does not represent the Irish gambling operators Boylesports or Paddy Power Betfair.
Mr Haijer explained that the fact that Ireland lacks a more up-to-date gambling law endangers both players and the Government’s task of ensuring that all players are offered the chance to play in a safe and well-regulated gambling environment online.
This is not the first time when the Irish Government has been under pressure for lack of proper regulation of gambling services in the country. In January 2019, a senior official from the Department of Justice had put under question the viability of the plans to forcibly make bookmakers block gambling addicts.
The lack of proper regulation of gambling services in Ireland was also criticised by Louise O’Reilly from Sinn Féin. As Casino Guardian already reported, Ms O’Reilly urged the Government to urgently conduct a prevalence study that would provide it with more up-to-date data about the scale of problem gambling in the country. This happened after the NHE revealed that it lacks actual figures about the exact number of gambling addicts, as there has not been a proper study on the matter.
Self-Exclusion Register Considered Extremely Important
As The Times reported at the time, a spokesman for the Association also commented that the national self-exclusion registers were of paramount importance when it comes to gambling addicts’ safety.
The so-called self-exclusion register provides local players to ban themselves from gambling. It is included in the Gambling Control Bill which is still being reviewed by the Irish lawmakers. After it is officially established, the register would make it obligatory to gambling operators to protect people who suffer from problem gambling and make sure that such people are not exploited for their addiction.
The companies which are currently members of the Association are responsible to protect their players but still a proper gambling regulation, which is up to date and reflects the reality in which contemporary gambling businesses operate, is needed.
Another problem is, that European countries have different rules in terms of online gambling regulation and this means a different level of player protection. According to experts, this could be a problem, especially in countries such as Ireland, where there is no modern regulation on online gambling, leaving players at risk.