Irish Government Rejects Proposed Gambling Ads Exemption

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The Irish government is pushing ahead with its daytime ban on gambling advertisements and looks unlikely to grant racing channels in Ireland an exemption.

Oireachtas, the Irish parliament, is introducing a ban on gambling-related advertising between 5:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. because it wants to reduce the exposure of gambling products to children.

Horse Racing Ireland (HRI), the television company that operates both the racing TV channels in the Irish jurisdiction, is one of the stakeholders in the industry that would like the regulators to exclude the racehorse advertisements from the proposed ban.

HRI has stated that income from gambling advertising is a major source of revenue for the broad-caster, and it says that if the ban is introduced, the racing channels will no longer be viable. This means potentially there will be no Irish racing broadcast on television, which will have a dramatic impact on the whole racing industry in Ireland.

I am very concerned about intense gambling advertising, and I do not believe the in-creased association of gambling and sport is healthy for our society. This legislation has been spo-ken about for many years, and I believe it is imperative that Fianna Fáil in government should de-liver this Bill.

James BrowneJunior Minister at the Department of Justice

Related: Irish Minister Supports a Proposed 3% Increase in Betting Levy

UK and Australia Treated as Exemptions by Regulators

Subscription racing channels in other global jurisdictions are given exemptions from gambling ad-vertising rules, and HRI cites the UK and Australia as examples of this.

The Irish government believes this would create a monopoly situation for the racing channels where they gain sole revenue of all gambling advertising from gaming operators.

The other argument is that treating horse racing as an exception would create an uneven playing field and put other sports at a disadvantage.

This [HRI] proposal clearly gives rise to a number of issues. Firstly, it breaches the principle of the gambling advertising ban. It is completely at odds with the stated will of the cross-party Oi-reachtas Committee on Justice and of the Government. Secondly, such an exemption for the horse racing industry would also be anti-competitive under current legislation covering broadcasting companies and would also discriminate against other sports. This would not be legally sustaina-ble.

James BrowneJunior Minister at the Department of Justice

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