Ireland’s Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath has called for bookmakers to be banned from allowing customers to bet on the numbers of its National Lottery, according to the Irish Independent.
The report states that McGrath has written to Minister of State for Law Reform James Browne, asking him to introduce new legislation prohibiting bookmakers from taking bets on the outcome of lottery draws.
The minister is said to be concerned that the National Lottery and the Euromillions draw are being undermined by bookmakers, by offering similar products under the same brand names which he believes is misleading the public. He also fears betting on lottery results is highly addictive, and can result in problem gambling.
McGrath has also taken issue with bookmakers using marketing practices such as free bets, discounts and loyalty schemes linked to lottery betting, all practices which the National Lottery is forbidden from offering to its customers.
Research by polling company Red C has found that lottery betting accounts for 8% of all gambling in Ireland, equating to almost €400m of the gambling industry’s annual revenue. 35% of people who gamble on lottery results would play the lottery if betting on the outcome was outlawed.
Minister Browne has been working on legislation to introduce a gambling regulator in Ireland who would be responsible for overseeing all legislation on betting in the country.
The minister is proposing an outright ban on gambling with credit cards, as well as abolishing gambling incentives such as special offers, and the introduction of affordability checks which would regulate how much people can gamble, depending on how much they earn.
He is also planning a crackdown on criminals using gambling to launder money, and he is planning to create a social fund to help fund services for problem gamblers.