Paddy Betfair Says Ban on Ads Could Promote Illegal Gaming

Paddy Betfair Says Ban on Ads Could Promote Illegal Gaming

While Ireland has been waging an internal battle over whether or not to continue a ban on advertising, the head of one of Ireland’s largest companies, Paddy Power Betfair, has said that a complete ban on advertising might have the opposite effect. He claims that in the absence of ads for legal gaming, people in Ireland who want to gamble would instead turn toward illegal gaming. These comments from Paddy Power Betfair have been seen by some as not only interesting but contradictory because Paddy Power Betfair has stated in the past that it felt there should be some sort of ban or restriction on gaming ads.

Paddy Power Betfair

Paddy Power BetfairPaddy Power Betfair is the largest gaming company in Ireland, with a yearly revenue of nearly $2 billion. The company is nearly equally split between the small majority of shareholders in Ireland and the United Kingdom. In addition to its companies in Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, Paddy Power Betfair also operates locations in Italy. This gives the company an interesting insight into the advertising ban because Italy is set to institute a ban on all advertising beginning Jan. 1, 2019. Many Italian companies have expressed concerns that a ban on advertising will have a chilling effect on gambling in the country, especially those companies that have sponsorships with sports teams, because sports teams in Italy rely heavily on money from gaming companies to help with their expenses.

Advertising in Ireland

Paddy Power Betfair has been vocal that consumer protection and betting in Ireland need to change. A total ban on advertising might be counterproductive, the company says, especially to Irish sports teams, because they, like the Italian sports teams, rely on sponsorships to help with expenses. Some of the sponsorships from gaming companies can run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

One of the most vocal advocates for changes to the advertising law in Ireland is the ex-CEO of Paddy Power. He has said that advertising needs to change to protect young people, who see gaming as a normal part of life because it is online and on TV all the time. The former executive is advocating for advertising only at certain times of the day and limiting the amount a player can play per day.

The Irish Government’s Response

Michael Higgins, president of Ireland, has been very vocal about his support for bans in gambling advertising. He says he believes banning ads at sporting events would preserve the integrity of the sport. The Irish government is beginning the discussion of a gambling bill overhaul, which is sorely needed in the country –the current gaming law is more than 60 years old. The current tax on gaming is set at a paltry 1 percent, which is the lowest in the world. Many legislators have noted that the entire gaming law needs to be redone to account for the advances in online gaming and sports gaming.

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