Irish lawmakers are considering imposing a ban on gambling products that allow players to wager on the outcome of a lottery, whether it’s in Ireland, or anywhere else. Irish bookmakers, the ones who’ve been providing exactly that kind of product to players for more than a quarter of a century, aren’t so sure that’s a great idea.
Much of the strum and drang regarding what are known as a lottery experience is coming from authorities at the Irish National Lottery. They say that lottery experience products are poaching their players and, in the process, diverting precious tax revenue away from government coffers. In their estimate, Irish players spend about €400 million ($5 million USD) on lottery experience products every year. If that same amount of money was spent on the National Lottery, it would have generated an additional €110 million ($137 million) in tax revenue that would have been used on various social programs.
Sinn Féin TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire spoke to RTE News on the matter saying, “The National Lottery’s biggest beneficiaries are ordinary sporting clubs, community, voluntary and charitable organisations throughout the length and breadth of this country. €100,000 every day, millions upon millions every year. So it is a loss to them when people instead of playing the National Lottery play some other form of game play and imitation play.”
Sharon Byrne, Chair of the Irish Bookmakers’ Association points out that Irish Bookmakers make a pretty big contribution to government coffers, too saying, “Our members fund The Dunlewey centre and Gambling Awareness Trust in addition to the nearly €100 million per year in betting duty which is used by the government to fund many things including the horse and greyhound industries.”
Efforts to ban lottery experience products have been shelved for now, but proponents say they’ll be revisiting them in the very near future.