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Sports betting has been legal in Ireland for centuries. The legislation surrounding this is currently being covered Gambling Act 2015.
Among other things, this law states that online bookmakers who are taking bets from Irish players must be licensed by the Irish Revenue Commissioners. It is expected to be replaced by a regulatory body Full-fledged gambling authority Sometime in 2022.
The purpose of these regulatory bodies is to ensure the Irish government benefits from bookmakers and to protect its residents from things like false or excessive advertising. When the new gambling authority comes into force, sports betting sites will have to follow certain rules and procedures, which may include the following in addition to those mentioned above:
● Responsible gaming must be promoted through various tools.
● Players can only use a certain number of bonuses.
While the new regulatory body is being introduced to combat the growing number of young residents who end up with gambling addictions, there are those who believe a total ban on sports betting would be better. But what exactly would happen if a full ban was imposed in a country where betting was so widespread in the past? Let’s discuss!
Gamblers’ problems may decrease
According to a publication made by Health Research Board in Ireland As of February this year, there were 12,000 problem gamblers in the country. Additionally, another 90,000 are believed to be experiencing moderate levels of difficulty from their gambling habits.
If sports betting is banned in Ireland, we may or may not see a reduction in problem gamblers. You might think that a ban would lead to a reduction, but the issue is not black and white.
If a ban on sports betting only means a ban on the companies that provide the service, it will not necessarily limit the accessibility of betting as there will still be plenty of options available. There will be no physical betting shops in Ireland and no online bookies operating from within the country. Even if they are underground, it will be easy for the police to suppress them.
However, these days, there are hundreds of online bookmakers operating in jurisdictions such as Curacao where Irish law does not apply. Furthermore, Curacao does not require a licensing entity, and as far as we know, its bookmakers do not care to regulate whether they comply with Irish law.
Thus, if a ban is introduced we may not see a decrease in the number of people betting, but only a change in the platforms people are using to bet. Therefore, problem gambling will remain as much of a problem.
We believe, the only way that the number of people who gamble will decrease significantly is if individuals are penalized for their gambling. But even then, how big the reduction will be is questionable.
Parallels can be drawn with drug use where Portugal is a perfect example. In 2001, they decriminalized all drugs. If the argument is that strict laws lead to a decrease in usage and soft laws lead to an increase, the country will see a spike in users. However, according to a Research report from 2007This connection is not as clear-cut, showing that heroin use has decreased, while marijuana use has increased.
Players will be less protected
with Current Legal Landscape And as Ireland moves forward with its new gambling authority, the government could impose stricter regulations on bookmakers that protect players.
For example, players must set deposit limits, train operators to notice problematic betting patterns, and regulate how companies market themselves. All of which can reduce problem gambling. Not to mention, ensuring players are paid their winnings regardless.
However, if sports betting is banned, this rule will go away. Only unlicensed bookmakers and those with dubious licenses from jurisdictions like Curacao will remain. These bookmakers are either not regulated at all or not as tightly regulated as the Irish government Thus, they will not provide the same level of protection, putting players at greater risk.
Of course, even with sports betting legalized, these low-quality bookies remain. However, by controlling the flow of marketing through and within the country, regulatory bodies can steer players in the right direction. In other words, ask them to bet with trusted bookmakers licensed in Ireland.
Less tax benefits and more expenses
Under current rules, Irish bookmakers must pay tax in Ireland. Furthermore, it has been proposed that the new gambling authority will require sports betting sites to contribute to a “social impact fund”. In other words, the government is making money from bookies that could be used to help problem gamblers and benefit the country in other ways.
But if the ban is imposed, all this money will go away. Online bookies in jurisdictions such as Curacao do not pay tax in Ireland. So, if gamblers have the same problem, we will have the same problem without the funds to deal with them or help when needed.
Furthermore, if individuals are penalized for their gambling as previously suggested, this would be an additional cost to society. How do we keep track of people betting? It sounds like a huge project to us that will require a lot of money.
Of course, one could argue that these costs will be covered by fines bettors will have to pay. But then the question arises, exactly how big should these fines be, and what’s worse if they are really big? Are some people betting with addiction or spending too much, or, are some people betting with huge fines?
Let us know what you think in the comments below!
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