Bookmaker William Hill has rejected calls to sign up for the Safer Gambling Code, which has been approved by betting companies operating here.
The code calls for a ban on live television advertising and, most importantly, credit card payments.
But the British bookmaker’s position threatens to create a loophole in the industry, as it has meanwhile emerged that Paddy Power has paid An Post € 1.75 million for money stolen from the semi-public company. by an employee.
Post office worker Tony O’Reilly siphoned off An Post’s money to fund his online account which he opened with his credit card, setting off on a treacherous journey to ruin and jail.
Carlow’s man was sentenced to four years in prison in 2012 and he then told his story in shocking detail in a book co-authored by journalist Declan Lynch.
Paddy Power’s payment to An Post for debt, first reported in the Sunday business message, is seen as devastating for an industry struggling with regulation.
Paddy Power and its parent company Flutter Ent have since subscribed to the Irish Bookmakers Association’s Safer Game Code. But William Hill’s refusal has caused major tensions in the industry.
The British bookmaker’s stance undermined the IBA’s attempts to improve behavior ahead of important government developments in the coming weeks, with the appointment of a designated CEO for gambling regulation.
A spokesperson for William Hill claimed he did not adhere to the code of practice because he was not a member of the IBA.
“William Hill cannot become a member of the Irish Bookmakers Association because the organization only represents retail operators in Ireland,” he said.
“If that changes, we will explore the option of
join the IBA.
“We look forward to an evidence-based review of the gambling law by the Irish government, and we will, of course, comply with any updated regulations in new state law.”
Without directly naming William Hill or its subsidiaries, Irish Bookmakers Association President Sharon Byrne said all other betting companies operating in Ireland, including those that only have an online presence (rather than ‘a showcase), have subscribed to the code.
“I can’t force people to pass legislation, but by recommending codes of practice we experience tremendous involvement and adoption from our members,” she said. declared.
“I’m not a regulator, so we can only encourage best practices from our members on customer protection, anti-money laundering, GDPR and other issues. ”
With the appointment of a CEO for betting regulation due to take place by the end of the year, the IBA Code is seen as essential for the industry to lead and support industry change. for the best.
By ending the use of credit cards to fund betting accounts, and by banning television advertising – especially “Whistle-to-Whistle” advertisements
broadcast immediately before and during live television events – the IBA said it is vital for the industry to lead by example.