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Willie Mullins Worried about TV Advertising Ban on Gambling

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Willie Mullins, the legendary racehorse trainer, has raised concerns over the proposed advertising ban on gambling in Ireland in changes to the Gambling Regulation Bill.

The Irish Government is considering a daytime ban on gambling advertising on television platforms in the country. The reason they give for the ban is to remove the exposure of gambling to children in Ireland, which they believe would achieve this.

Related: Gambling Ad Ban in Ireland to Include Racing Channels

Mullins Speaks Out on Gambling Ad Ban’s Impact

Champion steeplechase trainer Mullins says he believes the gambling advertisements ban means that the sport of horse racing is caught in the crossfire of a law that is intended to address the issue of problem gambling in the region.

Mullins is one of several leading figures in the horseracing industry who predict dire consequences for the racing industry in Ireland. He thinks if the racing channels stop showing horseracing on television, it will lead to thousands of job losses in the industry. Along with racehorse owners who may decide to leave the sport with essential investment in the industry.

He also warned that gambling could become like prohibition, and the over-restriction of gaming regulations could drive gambling underground with players using unlicensed operators. Customers would then have less protection from gaming operators who do not have to follow any guidelines on social responsibility regarding gambling.

Racing is an integral part of the lives of a lot of Irish people, especially an older generation, who watch racing on TV in the afternoons when there’s no other live sport on. It’s part of Irish DNA, so to be deprived of racing through this law, which won’t stop gambling, is an unfortunate thing. When you have people, you’re going to have problems and I’m not sure risking the fate of the industry and the amount of people it employs, and the amount of goodwill it has, outweighs the problem.

Willie MullinsChampion Trainer

Racing Channels Ask for Exception

The digital racing channels have asked for an exemption from the ban, arguing they are subscription-based and are for adults only. The two channels in Ireland have stated that without the revenue from advertising from gambling operators, it would be viable to continue broadcasting racing from the country.

The minister introducing the changes to the Bill, James Browne, says he disagrees with these arguments and points to a recent report on the rise of chronic gambling addiction in Ireland.

It appears an exemption to the advert ban for the horseracing industry looks unlikely.

Mullins Questions National Lottery Exemption

Mullins went on to question why the National Lottery is receiving an exemption from the new proposed guidelines, as it is, in essence, gambling and also allowed into people's living rooms via television platforms.

What intrigues me is how the Lotto is exempt. That’s national TV and that’s where people really get hooked on stuff. [But] that’s not going to be touched. I sympathize with people who have a problem. But in all walks of life, we have different problems different diseases, let it be smoking, drinking, gambling.

Willie MullinsChampion Trainer

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