CFO of Flutter Cautions Against Irish Government’s Planned Ban on Gambling Promotions

Paul Edgecliff-Johnson Paul Edgecliff-Johnson, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment plc (Flutter), has asked the Irish Government to reconsider its stance on introducing a blanket ban on gambling bonuses involving free bets. As reported by The Irish Times, Flutter’s CFO proposed the alternative of regulators overseeing how such initiatives are created and promoted.

The Government’s Gambling Regulation Bill concerns many aspects surrounding gambling harm, including the temptation inherent to gambling ads, VIP schemes, complimentary bets, and other such factors, and how they affect those susceptible to problem gambling. The goal of the prohibition of promotional initiatives is to address the issue of bettors being persuaded into wagering irresponsibly.

However, Mr Edgecliff-Johnson pointed out that a large number of Irish bettors (over 500,000) are treated to complimentary bets, yet do not experience any issues relating to gambling harm as a result. Additionally, it should be noted that Flutter Entertainment is not against the bill in general, according to Flutter’s CFO. He also assured that there are no plans for Flutter to move its headquarters outside Ireland.

The issue was raised after Flutter published its fiscal earnings for 2023, in which Flutter’s CEO, Peter Jackson, celebrated the company’s strong performance and revenue growth and also put an emphasis on the company’s efforts to promote safer gambling through various initiatives. Despite this, however, the company did also report a net loss of $1.2 billion.

Ireland’s Upcoming Regulated Gambling Market

Ireland’s Upcoming Regulated Gambling Market The Gambling Regulation Bill will serve to officially regulate gambling within Ireland, and it will also warrant the establishment of the Údarás Rialála Cearrbhachais na hÉireann (Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland). The bill was published in 2022. It outlines Ireland’s future licensing structure and includes a comprehensive overview of the laws that are to dictate how gambling will be conducted within the country. Key proposals include how ATMs will no longer be allowed within the premises of betting shops, the prohibition of credit card usage for gambling, and the aforementioned ban on betting promotions, to name a few.

The prohibition of gambling initiatives is not the only piece of legislation within the Gambling Regulation Bill that has become a cause for worry among members of the gambling industry, however. One such problematic proposal is that which, if passed, would mandate that media networks be disallowed from broadcasting gambling ads between 5:30 am and 9:00 pm.

Representatives of companies tied to horse race betting and the horse racing industry itself have argued against this ban, claiming that it would cause significant financial damage to Irish horse racing. Attempts were also made to convince government officials to exempt horse racing channels from this prohibition but to no avail. As a result, the future of Irish horse racing remains uncertain.

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Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.
Daniel Williams
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