Ireland: bingo operators to protest gambling laws

Ireland: bingo operators to protest gambling laws

Bingo operators in Ireland are set to campaign against a proposed gambling law that would change prize rates in the country.

Ireland.- Bingo operators in Ireland are against a gambling proposal that would change prize rates in the country. They argue that the new laws cap prize money, it could lead to a drop-off in footfall and create uncertainty in Ireland.

The legislation to modernise gambling laws in Ireland is scheduled to be presented tomorrow before the Dáil. The measure would cap prize money of 50% of a bingo hall’s takings every day, which is a significant decline from the current 75% to 85%, Irish Times reported.

Emma Lavelle, head of operations at Jack Potts, which is one of the largest bing operators in the country, said that the legislation has created uncertainty in the industry. She believes that the legislative piece would lead to the closure of bingo halls as it is impossible to operate in such a structure. “Customers have already told us they won’t be coming at those prices,” Lavelle said.

A spokesman from the Department of Justice said that the Minister of State David Stanton, who is in charge of gambling policies, has been in contact with bingo operators. “In the course of preparation of the 2019 Bill, concerns arose with the seemingly minimal amounts returned to the lottery licence-holder, (who must be a charitable or philanthropic cause), by bingo operators acting as agents,” he said.

“This situation has informed the proposed new payment matrix of: a maximum of 50% of the proceeds to prizes, a maximum of 25% to the charity, and a maximum of 25% to expenses incurred in the operation of the lottery. This new payment matrix represents a progressive measure that ensures that charities receive a fair share from bingo operators and is both balanced and sustainable.”

Ireland approves new maximum stake for gambling machines

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan introduced to Cabinet new changes that will see a new maximum stake of €5 for gambling machines. The initiative was approved last week by the local government.

Flanagan’s changes include a new €500 limit as maximum payout for electronic gaming or slot machines. These limits were last updated in 1956 and the government argued that they needed to modernise the local framework.

David Stanton, Minister of State in the Department of Justice, said: “Modifying stake and prize amounts is the only current role of the Minister for Justice and Equality with regard to gaming machines. The proposal had been to raise these amounts to €10 and €750 respectively.

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