A significant redesign of Irish brick-and-mortar bookmakers’ shopfronts could be forced as it is quite hard to define what actually constitutes gambling advertising.
Ireland’s Department of Justice is set to closely monitor the branding used in bookmakers’ premises, as well as their potential marketing powers. The move comes as part of a long-expected crackdown on the gambling sector and the prevalence of gambling advertising in the country.
Recently, no issues associated with bookies’ shopfronts had been raised, but James Browne, the Minister of State at the Department of Justice, explained that is something that has to be taken care of. It is Mr Browne who is entitled to the publication of the new Gambling Bill, which was officially approved by the Cabinet last week in its draft “general scheme” form.
The proposed piece of legislation covers various matters, including marketing and advertising used by gambling operators, mainly online and through the broadcast media. However, the advertising issues linked to physical shops had been surprising to the sector.
Mr Browne explained that the matter is complex, especially considering there are many bookmaker outlets on the streets of Ireland. He further noted that signs over bookies’ shopfronts are a form of advertising that needs to be taken into consideration.
Brick-and-Mortar Betting Shops Remain Popular in Ireland Despite Gambling Digitalisation Trend
For the time being, there has not been any information about the possible consequences that could be faced by bookmakers whose betting shops feature visible signs of advertising across the country. A spokesman for the Minister of State at the Department of Justice said there were no more details about any further actions that are set to be taken in terms of the gambling advertising materials of local betting shops.
While a massive wave of digitalisation has been registered in the gambling sector, traditional brick-and-mortar betting shops have remained popular in Ireland, with their attractiveness still remaining a significant issue for the Irish Government and the Department of Justice.
When informed of the comments of the MInister on the matter, the trade organisation that represents bookmakers in the country – the Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA) – said it had been unaware of the issue. The organisation also said that it would seek further details from the Department before making any comments.
Last week, at the time when the general scheme form of the Gambling Bill was approved, Mr Browne also used the opportunity to call for the British gambling company William Hill to sign up to IBA’s Safer Gambling code, apart from commenting on the upcoming review of betting outlets’ shopfronts. Under the new rules that have been enforced on the Irish gambling sector, the IBA has implemented some changes to the industry, including the so-called “whistle-to-whistle” ban on gambling advertising during live sports events and a ban on credit card use for gambling transactions.
As previously reported by Casino Guardian, William Hill has not supported the new code. British gambling operator insists it does not have any physical shops in Ireland, so it is not among the companies that are being represented by the Irish Bookmakers Association, so the rules applicable to other companies do not apply for it. Mr Browne, however, does not share this view. According to him, every gambling company that offers its services in the country under a valid operating licence needs to be in line with any obligations imposed on the sector, no matter if it has any brick-and-mortar units or not.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.