Shops and charities are pushing for a ban on bookmaker betting on weekly lottery draws

Charities and retailers want to see the rapid introduction of new laws banning betting on national lottery draws.

They believe that preventing bookmakers from betting on lottery draws will generate more money for community projects and businesses. It comes ahead of a Seanad debate on Tuesday to amend the National Lottery Act.

Barry Ward, the Fine Gael Senator introducing the law, said he hoped the proposed legislation would be passed quickly, after the government said it did not oppose the proposal but would like to see some changes.

Mr Ward said estimates of between €20m and €140m will flow back to the National Lottery if the law is passed.

“The actual number is probably somewhere in between.

“When you spend €1 on Lotto not only does 27 cents go to the community but there is also a fee that goes to the retailer and the tax implications too.

“It’s quite a substantial reinvestment in Ireland,” he added.

Charities Institute Ireland chief executive Áine Myler said that while other changes would improve the allocation of lottery funds to good causes, there was a direct link between increased lottery sales and community benefits.

“This will bring us in line with other countries in Europe that also have national lotteries but don’t allow betting shops to bet on them,” she added.

Bookmakers have previously claimed that their lottery betting products have been around for around 30 years and that there is room in the market for them and the lottery.

They have also argued that bookmaker customers are unlikely to switch to playing National Lottery games.

Retailers are excited about the introduction of the new legislation and trade association RGDATA has asked the government to support the change.

Shopkeeper Kevin Herlihy, who runs seven Centra stores in Cork with his brother Brian Herlihy, said it would be better for retailers and communities if the law were passed quickly.

“Winnings from these draws at the bookies are not going back to the communities. About 90 percent of lottery money goes back into the community,” Mr. Herlihy said. Shops and charities are pushing for a ban on bookmaker betting on weekly lottery draws

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