Bill to ban the use of credit cards to play Dáil
A blanket ban on the use of credit cards for online and in-person gambling is needed to ensure that problem gamblers don’t spend money they don’t have and can’t afford, a heard the Dáil.
Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould said the National Lottery has decided to introduce such a ban and some bookmakers are offering optional bans in limited situations.
“The problem with voluntary bans is that they can be removed as easily as they can be introduced,” he said. “If the bookmakers are losing money or customers because of these bans, then where does that leave the vulnerable.”
Cork North-Central TD was speaking as they introduced their Betting Bill (Prohibition on Using Credit Cards), which prohibits the use of credit cards to place bets under all circumstances.
Otherwise, the companies concerned would lose their licenses. The bill was introduced following estimates that 55,000 people are involved in serious gambling problems while “many more people are at risk and in need of protection”.
Mr Gould said the bill aims to provide only one of the protections required for these people since a gambling control bill was first promised in 2013 but has yet to be introduced. .
The government has committed to appointing a gaming regulator by the end of the year.
Mr. Gould stressed the need for such a ban “to ensure that those who have problem gambling behavior or those who are addicted to do not gamble with money they do not have and that they can’t afford ”.
He said the gaming industry itself has recognized that this has to happen.
Earlier in the Seanad, Fine Gael Senator Joe O’Reilly, who has repeatedly raised the issue of problem gambling, said charities reported a 46% increase during Covid in people with gambling difficulties , especially online.
“There is a movement towards the use of smartphones and PCs and, very worryingly, smartphones are now an integral part of gambling,” he said. When sports were shut down during the pandemic, “online poker games became a big deal.”
Last week Fine Gael Senator Barry Ward introduced legislation to prevent betting shops and all commercial or private gambling operations from grafting onto the national lottery and offering bets on its numbers.
Many bookmakers allow people to bet smaller amounts on the outcome of the lottery offered by the National Lottery. The National Lottery Bill (Amendment) seeks to prevent
Many bookmakers offer bets on the outcome of the lotto with sums of money lower than those offered by the national lottery.
Mr Ward said that when money is spent in bookmakers rather than directly on the national lottery, it is diverted from the good causes which represent 28 cents of every euro spent and “put in the hands of private interests in this country. “.
The government has agreed to move the bill to committee stage.