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Ireland – Flutter confirms move to ban gambling transactions with credit cards in Ireland

By - 22 February 2021

Flutter Entertainment has announced the introduction of a range of proactive measures to its operations in Ireland to update its safer gambling policies and to mitigate the potential for harm.

The measures include the commitment of one per cent of Net Gaming Revenue to support the research, education and treatment of problem gambling, the banning of credit card use on customers’ online and retail accounts, and a pre-watershed whistle-to-whistle advertising ban that will restrict advertising during live sport. Flutter brands in Ireland, including Paddy Power, Betfair and Sky Bet will cease to accept credit card payments from customers on all online customer accounts and in Paddy Power shops. Customers who currently have a credit card as their active payment method will have to replace that payment method with an available alternative. The implementation of required technology changes will occur over the coming six weeks and it is anticipated that the ban will be in effect from early April.

These measure are supplemented by a range of measures already in place to facilitate intervention when signs of harmful gambling behavior are identified through artificial intelligence and human monitoring.

“We welcome the Irish Government’s commitment to introducing gambling regulation during its lifetime,” said Conor Grant, Chief Executive Officer of Flutter UK & I.“But gambling operators must act responsibly without being required to do so. We recognise that gambling has undergone a technological transformation over the past two decades. The influence of the smartphone, social media, and on-demand streaming has been profound. We understand that legislating for these developments is complex and may take some time. We have decided to introduce several measures, well in advance of the legislation, to enhance the effectiveness of our safer gambling policies in Ireland.”

From May 1, Flutter will introduce a restriction on TV advertising on all live sport before 9 p.m. This removal of advertising will involve live sporting events including GAA, soccer, rugby, golf, tennis, boxing, basketball, athletics, American football, darts and motor sports and will run from five minutes before the event until five minutes after. This will not include horse racing or greyhound racing.

Flutter will significantly increase its donations to Irish safer gambling organisations over the next three years. By 2023, one per cent of Flutter’s Net Gaming Revenue (NGR) from Irish customers will be given to initiatives focused on the research, education and treatment of problem gambling. Based on reported NGR achieved in 2020, this will amount to a contribution of circa €1.25m this year, rising to approximately €3m in 2023. Flutter already contributes €450,000 to the established Gambling Awareness Trust in Ireland. The commitment to donate 1% of NGR will be used to increase this contribution to the Gambling Awareness Trust, as well as supporting emerging initiatives around the country.

“There is an extensive range of safer gambling measures already in place in our Irish business,” says Grant. “There are clear benefits if these or similar measures were to be adopted market wide in Ireland. We have not always got it right as an industry and we must ensure collectively that we are doing all we can to prevent problem gambling. The reality is that protection and promotion measures will continue to evolve over time and new measures will need to be considered to promote moderation, safety and enjoyment in this era of digital gambling.”

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