Gambling proposal criticised in Ireland

A proposal to increase the limit in gaming machines has raised concerns among Irish politicians and was criticised.

Ireland.- The Irish Gaming and Lotteries Act became law more than 60 years ago, and that is why a new proposal has emerged in the territory. This legislative piece proposes an increase from the 50 cent stake and payout limit to €10 and €750 respectively. Irish executives are concerned that this could increase problem gambling, though there are politicians that have publicly supported the gambling reform bill.

The law, which is currently before the legislature of Ireland (called Oireachtas), could potentially lead to a 300-fold increase in the maximum stake allowed for the machines, Irish Times reports. Gambling facilities have reiterated on multiple occasions that the 50 cent stake is too low.

David Norris and Gerard Craughwell, two Independent Senators from Ireland, criticised the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill when it was debated in the Upper House in June. “They are enormous and vast increases. From 3 cent to €10 is bad enough, but from 50 cent to €750 clearly raises this situation beyond the question of gaming for amusement,” said Norris.

Furthermore, the minister of State in the Department of Justice David Stanton, who is behind the bill, said that the stakes established back in 1956 -when the act became law- are completely unrealistic and therefore need to be updated. He added that he is open to discussing the appropriate maximum stakes.

Barry Grant, chief executive official of Problem Gambling Ireland, also criticised the bill and said that even with a maximum stake of 3 cents, the organization has already dealt with multiple problem gamblers. “How much more quickly will they lose a week’s wages at €10 a spin in a market that is unregulated and has a history of zero enforcement?” he said.

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