Ahead of the Game: Flutter Entertainment to Block Credit Card Deposits in Ireland
One of the world’s biggest gambling companies, Flutter Entertainment, has announced it will no longer allow credit card deposits from Irish customers. Also to come is a whole load of other changes geared towards a commitment to safer gambling.
The news comes after Ireland’s Labour party told the press last week that it wants to introduce a bill to ban almost all gambling advertising in the country for the foreseeable future.
Last year, we reported on the delays to the launch of Ireland’s official gambling regulator. Currently, millions of Irish citizens gamble online regularly without any kind of official oversight from the Irish government.
This move by Flutter is welcome, but it’s also an obviously pre-emptive one. The giant owners of Ireland’s Paddy Power, Betfair, and SkyBet brands are clearly looking to get on the good side of politicians, potential regulators, and (most importantly) the public.
Despite its popularity, gambling doesn’t have the best image in Ireland right now. Politicians and researchers have regularly been bashing (sometimes deservedly) the worst aspects of the industry.
High-profile tales of sad and preventable problem gambling have also not been a good look for online casinos – such as that of Tony 10, the post office worker who gambled €10m ($12.5 million) with Paddy Power over ten years despite being on an average wage.
Flutter getting ahead now and reaffirming its commitment to responsible gambling is only going to be a good thing later.
Safety and Enjoyment
The first major change to be implemented by Flutter in Ireland is a ban on credit card deposits at all its online casino sites and in its several hundred Paddy Power betting shops. This will roll out no later than April 2021.
A similar move was implemented in January 2020 by Ireland’s neighbors, the UK.
Other planned changes for the next year by Flutter’s Irish operations include:● No TV or stream advertising “whistle to whistle” during live sports.● 1% of annual net gaming revenue to be donated to research, awareness, and support for problem gambling initiatives.
Both of these initiatives are set to start in May. Flutter’s Irish division already donates €450,000 ($546,000) a year to the Gambling Awareness Trust, and this new promise will probably amount to a few million Euros, too.
Conor Grant, CEO of Flutter’s UK and Irish operations, was clear about the aims of these reforms.
“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” he said in a statement.
“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” he continued.
Mr. Grant, though obliquely, also referred to the Irish government’s delay in sorting official regulation – perhaps suggesting that his company was not trying to upstage or counter its proposals but rather supplement them.
“We recognize 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”Conor Grant, Flutter CEO
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