Sky Sports Racing Warns of Possible Horseracing Channel Withdrawal Due to Planned Advertising Restrictions in Ireland’s Gambling Regulation Bill

One of the leading TV horse racing channels in Ireland has warned that it intends to withdraw its service from local television in case the country’s Gambling Regulation Bill proceeds in its current form in the Legislature. Currently, the piece of legislation is going through the Houses of the Oireachtas (the bicameral Parliament of Ireland).

Sky Sports Racing shared that a Bill’s provision aimed at the implementation of a blanket ban on gambling advertising between 5:30 AM and 9:00 PM every day may result in serious financial losses for its channel, making it “economically unviable” in the country.

As previously reported by Casino Guardian, the Gambling Regulation Bill suggests that all gambling advertising and sponsorship should be banned on radio, television and social media channels from 5:30 AM to 9:00 PM. The piece of legislation is primarily focused on protecting vulnerable people and underage individuals from gambling-related harm and tackling the negative impact that the sector has on their physical and mental health.

As mentioned above, the piece of legislation features some restrictions on promoting gambling and gambling sponsorships on literally all possible channels, including television, radio, and online. However, Sky Sports Racing has noted that approximately 97% of its viewership comes from individuals over the age of 24, so it is clear that its channel targets adults and not children or young people.

The chief executive officer of Attheraces, the broadcasting group partnering with Sky Sports Racing, Matthew Imi, noted there was sufficient evidence that horseracing does not encourage problem gambling in the way that other gambling and sports betting products do.

Gambling Advertising Restrictions Could Make the Channel “Economically Unviable” Sky Racing Says

Attheraces’ boss shared how extremely concerned the channel was about the proposed gambling advertising ban, adding that such restrictive measures could result in the channel’s withdrawal from Ireland.

Mr Imi claimed that historically, horse racing and betting have been connected, so it required a significant amount of advertising on Sky Sports Racing’s specialist horseracing channel and on competitor racing channels, as well. In case the proposed watershed gambling advertising ban is officially adopted by the Government, the channel warned it could have a devastating impact on dedicated horse racing channels such as the one operated by Sky Sports Racing. According to the company, the implementation of further restrictions could make the channel economically unviable.

The channel’s withdrawal is expected to affect a large number of horse racing fans in Ireland, on one hand, and hurt the entire €2.4-billion industry that currently supports over 30,000 jobs, on the other hand. That is why Sky Sports Racing has called for specialist horse racing channels to be subject to official expansion from the advertising ban. If such a compromise is not reached, Sky Sports Racing would “reluctantly” make a decision to pull its service from Ireland.

According to Jonathan Mullin of the sport’s governing body, Horse Racing Ireland (HRI), the country needs gambling adequate gambling regulation as soon as possible. Mr Mullin believes that the Gambling Regulation Bill would make a difference but there were still a few issues that needed to be addressed.

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Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.
Daniel Williams
Casino Guardian covers the latest news and events in the casino industry. Here you can also find extensive guides for roulette, slots, blackjack, video poker, and all live casino games as well as reviews of the most trusted UK online casinos and their mobile casino apps.

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