Flutter unveils safer gambling measures in Ireland

  • Paddy Power and other Flutter brands ban the use of credit cards
  • No advertising on TV during key sporting events (but not racing)
  • 1% of net gaming revenue to go to problem gambling treatment and research

Paddy Power Ireland

Flutter, the online and land-based gambling empire, has announced a raft of measures that will help promote safer gambling in Ireland.

Unveiling the measures ahead of the Irish government’s expected sweeping reforms of gambling regulations in the country.

Chief Executive Conor Grant said the proactive measures in Ireland updated safer gambling policies and mitigate the potential for harm. And he was keen that operators should be leaders in safe gambling, not expect to be regulated.

He said: “We welcome the Irish Government’s commitment to introducing gambling regulation during its lifetime. But gambling operators must act responsibly without being required to do so.”

The key changes coming from Flutter, which counts Paddy Power, Betfair, PokerStars and Sky Bet among its key brands, are led by the news that from early April, credit cards will no longer be used for payments online or at Paddy Power shops. Customers who currently use credit cards as their default payment method will need to add a new deposit method.

TV advertising ban

Then, from May 1, Flutter will halt all TV advertising during live sporting events before the 9 pm watershed. The ban runs from five minutes before a fixture to five minutes after it ends. All key sports, including soccer, rugby, golf, tennis, boxing, basketball, athletics, American football, darts and motorsports, will be subject to the change.

However, Flutter will not include the TV ad ban for horseracing or greyhound racing.

Flutter’s third key initiative is throwing 1% of its net gaming revenues over the next three years to research and the treatment Irish problem gambling. Based on reported NGR for 2020, this will amount to a contribution of around €1.25 million this year, rising to roughly €3 million in 2023.

The company already donates €450,000 to the Gambling Awareness Trust in Ireland. The NGR funds will also go to the Trust and new initiatives throughout the country.

Grant added: “We recognise that gambling has undergone a technical 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 legislation, to enhance the effectiveness of our safer gambling policies in Ireland.”

Building on foundations

Flutter was already showing leadership with various anti-problem gambling initiatives, said Mr Grant.

He explained: “There is an extensive range of safer gambling measures already in place in our Irish business. 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 the new measures will need to be considered to promote moderation, safety and enjoyment in this era of digital gambling.”

Among the measures Flutter already uses is its predictive model that employs behavioural analytics to predict a player’s chance of suffering gambling-related harm. The company has also given greater prominence to safer gambling messaging on all its channels.

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