Decision to allow minors to enter some gambling venues sparks controversy in Ireland

Ireland is still in the process of updating its gambling legislation.
Ireland is still in the process of updating its gambling legislation.

The proposed change in legislation would allow children to enter venues such as racetracks.

Ireland.- Proposals to allow children to enter some gambling venues have drawn criticism in Ireland. Previously children have not been allowed to enter venues such as racetracks, even on days when no betting activities were taking place, including for festivals and family events.

The government’s proposed modernisation of gambling legislation would change that, allowing children to enter larger venues while still prohibiting them from engaging in gambling. The aim is to promote a diversification of entertainment offerings at such venues.

However, the proposal has sparked controversy, with opponents raising concerns about the potential exposure of minors to gambling. They suggest that the move could normalise gambling in the eyes of minors, which they say could increase the risk of problem gambling in later life. Concerns have also been raised about the added onus it puts on staff to ensure vigilance to prevent minors from gambling.

In May, it was reported that the Department of Justice had decided to fully exempt sports clubs and charities from new gambling advertising rules. The original proposal was for an exemption for games with prizes of up to €10,000, but complaints from backbenches and opposition politicians have reportedly led to a complete exemption.

Ireland’s proposed gambling legislation will impose a ban on gambling ads on TV before the 9pm watershed. However, clubs and charities argued that including their products would affect fundraising for good causes.

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gambling regulation sports betting