Dublin witnessed massive protests against the controversial gambling proposals that would put a cap on the prize money to 50 per cent of a bingo hall’s takings with 25 per cent allocated to charity and the remaining 25 to fund expenses on the lottery. Currently, the Bingo halls across the country get to keep about 70-80 per cent.
The new gambling laws will effectively bring it down to 50 per cent putting to test the feasibility of Bingo halls, claimed protesters who gathered outside the Leinster House demanding the roll-back of the proposed changes to the existing gambling regulations.
In response to the demands of the Bingo lovers and operators, the Ireland Sun quotes Minister Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton saying: “This is a modest proposal.
“It will simply ensure that the charities receive a fair share from the bingo operators who act as their agent; that is a minimum of 25 per cent of the proceeds of the bingo.
“I don’t accept that bingo halls would be forced to close as a result.
“It has always been the case under the 1956 Gaming and Lotteries Act that a bingo operator could act as an agent of a lottery licence holder but that licence holder must be a charitable or philanthropic cause.
“This is not changing.”
For Irish people who have expressed solidarity with the protestors, Bingo is just a harmless entertainment. Many believe that the government should not have come down harsh upon the game and must have consulted the stakeholders before coming up with something that would redefine the market forever.
Ireland’s Gmabling act is functionally obsolete as it caps maximum payout from a gaming machine at about 70 cents. The new laws will allow €360,000 for a single lottery held annually, or € 30,000 cumulatively per week. Also, the operator running commercial bingo operations will now have to hold a lottery licence.
The real problem is with the 25 per cent that will now go for the charities leaving little for the commercial lottery operators. Earlier the charities received a negligible amount from Bingo operations.