Lottoland challenges Minister James Browne’s statements on gambling legislation

Lea Hogg 2 months ago
Lottoland challenges Minister James Browne’s statements on gambling legislation

Lottoland, a lottery betting company based in Gibraltar, has recently expressed its disagreement with the statements made by James Browne, Ireland’s Minister of State (pictured above), at the Department of Justice, regarding the new gambling regulations. The company claims that the Minister’s assertions about the laws were incorrect.

In an interview with RTÉ Radio 1 in February, Browne discussed the gambling regulation bill, which is set to introduce stringent new restrictions on betting operators in Ireland. Lottoland had previously argued that the bill, which limits bets to €10 and caps winnings from “relevant games” at €3,000, would push problem gamblers to bet in Northern Ireland. However, Browne dismissed this claim during the interview.

Browne, a Fianna Fáil TD, stated that the caps on winnings and bets were already part of Irish legislation. He said, “This is the law. I assume if Lottoland has a licence in Ireland, they are aware of this and they are complying with that law.”

However, Mike Kirwan, Vice-President of Lottoland UK and Ireland, wrote to Browne the following week, raising several objections to his comments. He disputed Browne’s claim that the stake and bets were already part of Irish law and expressed the company’s “serious reservations” about parts of the bill.

Gibraltar-based lottery questions Minister’s interpretation

Kirwan assured Browne that as a remote bookmaker’s licence holder, licensed to operate in the Republic of Ireland, Lottoland is compliant with all laws and regulations currently governing their sector. He also expressed concerns about the “vague and ambiguous wording of definitions” in the bill, which he said are crucial to the daily operation of their business and others.

He wrote, “Clarification of these specific terms is essential in order to ensure both compliance with the regulation, certainty for existing operators/operations in the Republic and also to avoid any need to seek clarity before the courts in future.”

The government has cited research from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), published in October 2023, which suggests that problem gambling rates are 10 times higher than previous estimates. However, this research has been questioned by industry figures, including Ian Brown, Chief Executive of Flutter UK and Ireland.

During his interview, Browne suggested that the laws in the Republic of Ireland were more stringent than those in Northern Ireland. Kirwan disagreed with this, stating it was “not a fair characterisation” of the regulatory regime in the North. He said, “You asserted that Northern Ireland is a ‘lax’ jurisdiction during the interview and not a reasonable yardstick for ROI comparison. We would counter that this is not a fair characterisation and broadly implies that Northern Ireland is without adequate regulation, which is not the case.”

Share it :

Recommended for you
Lea Hogg
17 hours ago
Lea Hogg
17 hours ago
Garance Limouzy
18 hours ago
Jenny Ortiz
21 hours ago