Bid to ban bookie betting on lottery to save 'good causes’ fund

Bill to stop 15 unregulated operators in Ireland and keep customers buying tickets

About 15 unregulated offshore companies offer bets on the national lottery, where people bet with the bookies rather than purchasing a lottery ticket, according to Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/THE IRISH TIMES

About 15 unregulated offshore companies offer bets on the national lottery, where people bet with the bookies rather than purchasing a lottery ticket, according to Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/THE IRISH TIMES

 

Legislation has been introduced to stop bookies taking bets on the National Lottery in a bid to protect the money that goes to good causes.

About 15 unregulated offshore companies offer bets on the national lottery, where people bet with the bookies rather than purchasing a lottery ticket, according to Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan who introduced the National Lottery (Protection of Central Fund) Bill.

He said these operators “allow people to bet on the six numbers that may be drawn out by the national lottery instead of buying a ticket”.

Fewer tickets bought means less money available for good causes, he said. Every year about €225 million is available for good causes, according to the Dublin Bay South TD.

Currently 28 per cent of the money from the lottery goes to “good causes” including sports amenities, culture, heritage and arts projects, the arts and health and youth amenities.

He added that while there were currently about 15 “bet-on lottery operators” in the Irish market and more were likely to enter.

Mr O’Callaghan proposes to amend the current Betting Acts which would mean that the licence of any betting office in Ireland or online bookie “cannot include an entitlement to bet on the outcome of any lottery game under that National Lottery Acts”.

The Fianna Fáil spokesman acknowledged that the national lottery is run by a private company. But he said it was different to other forms of gambling and lottery because it was established by the State for the purpose of public benefit.

He said it was time to address the threat to such funding and he pointed to Australia where he said the amount of funds available had dropped “because of the operations of these unregulated offshore operators”.