Ireland proposes new, higher limits for gaming machines
The government of Ireland is getting ready to change up the laws governing how much players can risk and win on gaming devices (more commonly known fixed-odds betting terminals in other countries). But rather than lowering the stakes and payouts, as has been done in England, the Irish authorities are actually looking at raising them.
According to a report on theJournal.ie, Ireland’s Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan will be presenting a plan to raise the maximum stakes on gaming devices from €.03 to €5 while boosting the maximum payout from €.50 to €500. The proposed new stake limits not only represent a massive boost for players and operators, it also bucks a growing trend that’s seen governments lower stakes and payouts; something that’s already been done in the UK.
One reason for the turnaround is that Ireland’s gambling industry is governed by the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956, a piece of legislation that hasn’t changed much in the decades since it was first introduced. The Act was recently described by a government official as, “archaic, unpractical, and unimplementable.”
Lawmakers are also considering raising the minimum age for players from 16 to 18 years of age. (Apparently they have to throw a bone to the anti-gambling crowd.)
While a €5.00 represents a massive boost for players and operators, it’s half of what lawmakers originally proposed in March when they suggested a €10 maximum stake and a €750 maximum payout. Either way, with these laws the Irish are definitely bucking a trend that’s seen governments in places like the UK lower stakes from £100 to just £2. Not surprisingly, the new limits have taken a gruesome toll on profits for UK operators.