Paddy Power Slows Down Sponsor Relationship with Ireland’s RTE

By | November 23, 2021

RTE, Ireland’s national television and radio broadcaster, is the first to suffer from new advertising rules that were implemented alongside changes in the country’s gambling regulations. Paddy Power has decided to stop sponsoring live televised soccer broadcasts on RTE as of next year.

Paddy Power Shop
A Paddy Power shop in Ireland that is facing changes as new regulations are introduced (Image: Paddy Power)

Paddy Power, the betting company owned by Flutter Entertainment, confirmed this weekend that it had ended its partnership with RTE. This announcement comes just before the new guidelines of the Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA), covering whistle-to-whistle advertising, are implemented. These new rules will be in effect from January 1 of next year. They are being introduced to fall in line with the stricter gambling regulations that Ireland has implemented.

Whistle-to-whistle has a clear definition in sports. It is considered the duration of a live broadcast event, including from five minutes before a sporting match starts to five minutes afterward. It includes advertisements and breaks of play at half-time, field-side LED signs and other forms of marketing.

Paddy Power Embraces Safer Gambling

Paddy Power has examined the advertisements for the “Take A Break- Safer Gambling” campaign, questioning whether these might run afoul of the new regulations. However, it isn’t clear if the marketing violates IBA Code that takes effect as of the new year.

The IBA spent the weekend looking at the regulations. However, it was unable to confirm if advertising safer gambling is still whistle-to-whistle marketing.

Paddy Power paid RTE a six-figure sum to sponsor the international soccer edition. This included the right for the company’s logo to be displayed on the screen during games, as well as the clock graphic and live-score graphic.

The ban on whistle-to–whistle advertisements by betting companies doesn’t apply to greyhound racing and horseracing. However, it does impact the lucrative soccer market, which some believe is a significant area of problem gambling.

Paddy Power stated that it supports the new regulatory framework. It also said that it had already taken a market-leading position regarding the intervention of problem gambling. The company asserted, “Paddy Power don’t just support the incoming whistle-to-whistle ban as a company, we have already taken a market leading position on this intervention.

“We moved to take all available slots pre- and post-match to promote our ‘Take A Break’ Safer Gambling tool in Ireland’s final four matches of the [FIFA] World Cup Qualifiers.”

All other major independent bookies and brands, except William Hill, have signed up for Code for Safer Gambling. James Browne, Minister-of-State at the Department of Justice, is leading legislative changes in the gambling sector through the introduction of regulation by 2023.

More Emphasis on Problem Gambling Coming to Ireland

Extern, a leading charity dealing with addictions, is raising awareness of the dangers that problem gambling poses to young people through a series of workshops delivered to schools throughout the Laois, Louth, Longford, Meath, Offaly and Westmeath areas.

The legal age to gamble is 18 in Ireland. However, statistics from Ireland show that problem gambling among teenaged boys has increased by more than two times in the past 4-5 years. This means that over 3,400 schoolchildren in Ireland aged 15-16 could be gambling excessively or problematically, according to the research.

Extern Problem Gambling is a project that supports problem gamblers and their families. The project advocates on behalf of people suffering from problem gambling and highlights gambling-related issues through the media.

The project will present workshops to secondary school students across the region in the coming six months. The goal is to raise awareness about the negative effects that problem gambling can have on people, families and communities. HSE National Lottery Grants Scheme provided funding for the workshops.

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