Sinn Féin TD for Dublin South West Seán Crowe has said that the government’s Gambling Bill must be amended to avoid punishing sport clubs, voluntary, and charitable organisations, saying that the Bill conflates fundraising with gambling, and that failure to address this issue would cost local sporting clubs, charities and community organisations thousands of euro in necessary fundraising.

Teachta Crowe said:

“Sporting clubs, voluntary organisation and charities have significant concerns regarding the impact the government’s Gambling Bill will have on fundraising efforts.

“Gambling is a very serious problem in this state and has destroyed lives and families, even led to jobs and homes being lost in all too many instances. There is a need to regulate how the industry can target potentially vulnerable individuals with relentless advertising, but we must be mindful of the unintended consequences of any legislation.

“This Bill, as it is currently drafted, would place considerable barriers in place for local organisations and drastically restrict their ability to fundraise as it conflates fundraising lotteries with gambling.

“The government’s sweeping measures, brought forward by Fianna Fáil, would have a far-reaching and negative impact on local sporting clubs, hospices, tidy town groups and many other philanthropic organisations. Such clubs and organisations right across the state rely heavily on fundraising to keep the show on the road. The effect of this Bill would be to leave them effectively with one hand tied behind their backs.

“There is broad agreement that gambling companies require significant regulations and an empowered regulator, but this Bill completely oversteps that. In spite of the concerns raised, the government has ploughed ahead with blunt measures that would leave the local communities counting the cost.

“Sinn Féin moved a number of amendments, including one that would exempt charities and sports clubs from the provisions of the Bill, provided that the funds from any activity are for their benefit alone.

“This Bill must deliver for ordinary people, voluntary organisations and those in recovery, while preserving jobs and protecting sources of fundraising. Currently, it does not do that, and Sinn Féin will have to reflect on our support if the government does not address these concerns.”