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Flutter CEO offers advice on new Irish gambling bill

Flutter gambling news

One of Ireland’s biggest industry stakeholders, Peter Jackson, has shared his thoughts on the incoming Gambling Regulation Bill.

Lawmakers are well on their way to implementing a massive overhaul of Irish betting regulations, having recently introduced a new governing body, the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA).

Jackson, who is the CEO of Flutter Entertainment, offered some advice on the legislative changes. The company announced its unwavering support of the updated gambling legislation and emphasized its commitment to sustainable and safe gambling.

Jackson revealed that as a result of its international experience, Flutter was fully aware of “the benefits of having a well resourced and dynamic regulator”. He also noted that Irish operators were not always in the right in terms of safer gambling.

“Our experience suggests that a fit-for-purpose, properly enforced regulated market can accommodate the vast majority of customers who enjoy a bet safely, while protecting those for whom gambling can become harmful,” Jackson wrote in The Irish Times.

His words are in line with those of the CEO of Flutter’s UK and Ireland division, Conor Grant. He previously said that the company is a “well-resourced regulator” and a “long-standing advocate of evidence-based measures”.

Jackson went into detail, revealing that in order for the newly established Irish regulator to be successful, it needed it be well funded. He also emphasized the importance of it being “dynamic and adaptable” to help it keep up with the constantly changing gambling industry.

He compared the British gambling market to Ireland’s, noting that it had a significantly larger sector to cover than the GRA would be responsible for. The UK Gambling Commission’s team of 250 had an expenditure of £45 million last year, while Dutch, Spanish and Greek regulators had budgets of between €10-20 million.

“It is critical that the authority’s chief executive designate has access to comparable budgets to ensure that the GRAI is optimally effective in achieving its mandate,” Jackson said.

“There is no reason why it can’t be a global leader in this area. If Ireland is home to the largest listed gambling operator in the world, as well as thousands of highly-skilled people working in the industry, it should have a world-class regulator to match.”

Jackson stated that the regulator should earn more funding as it matures, which would in part make an effective talent-recruitment process. He added that the new authority should not obstruct “responsible operators”.

“New effective controls should strengthen protections for those who may need it, but not impact the many thousands of recreational customers disproportionately,” Jackson said.

He added that Flutter Entertainment was in full support of the core objectives of GRA, which include stopping gambling from increasing crime rate, letting firms “make decisions with certainty” and using safeguards to keep problem gambling at bay.

“So, while there are many Irish-trained horses fancied at Cheltenham and Irish rugby fans dreaming of a World Cup in 2023, a more certain outcome is that an adequately-resourced regulator will deliver a safer and fairer gambling environment for consumers in Ireland,” Jackson concluded.

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) applauded the Irish government’s move to update its gambling regulations, and commended its lengthy list of measures to ensure safe gambling.

The GRA is expected to put together a national gaming self-exclusion scheme that has to be offered by gamblers in every licensed online and land-based operator. The new regulator will also create a ‘Social Impact Fund’, which will be mandatorily funded by contributions from operators.

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