James Lawless, Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Justice, has called for a ban on the use of credit cards to buy tickets for the Irish National Lottery.
As reported by the Irish Times, despite the lottery prohibiting customers from using credit cards to play online, shops – which are responsible for 80% of its sales – are still allowing the practice, in contrast to most of the gambling industry.
“The same rules should apply to the National Lottery, it would make sense,” said Lawless.
The Fianna Fáil TD (Teachta Dála) argued that extending the ban to the lottery would level the playing field between it and the rest of the betting industry.
The Irish Bookmakers’ Association, whose members own 760 of the Republic’s 790 bookie shops and include Paddy Power, Boylesports and Ladbrokes, voluntarily stopped accepting credit cards in betting offices and digitally on January 1, 2022.
Lawless’ remarks arrive as the Seanad prepares to debate the National Lottery (Amendment) Bill this week, which aims to prevent bookmakers and private sector operators such as Lottoland from offering bets on the National Lottery.
Other European countries with national lotteries have a similar ban, with Gemeinsamen Glücksspielbehörde der Länder (GGL) – the new federal agency for German gambling – recently taking action against Lottoland.
Sharon Byrne, Chairwoman of the Irish Bookmakers’ Association, concurs that the ban should be extended to the National Lottery.
She said: “We think all gambling should not accept credit cards, or any type of credit, in the interests of customer protection.”
However, the National Lottery has noted one key difference between itself and the rest of the betting industry – it is governed by specific legislation, so is not subject to the same laws, and the new regulation bill is not applicable.
The company has its own regulator who must approve all of its games, while the lottery also said its spending limits are ‘far lower’ than other operators and it does not offer incentives designed to encourage customers to continue betting.