Safer Gambling Code

Bookmakers Agree Credit-Card and Whistle-to-Whistle Advertising Bans

DUBLIN, 29TH AUGUST 2021: Bookmakers in Ireland have agreed to an industry-wide ban on the use of credit cards, both online and in shops, for Irish customers. Bookmakers have also agreed to a pre-watershed whistle-to-whistle* advertising ban for live sport.

The two initiatives are part of an updated Code of Practise for safer gambling introduced by the Irish Bookmakers’ Association’s (IBA) which outlines a comprehensive set of industry commitments across a range of player protection measures. All IBA members, including Boylesports, Flutter Entertainment, Entain and Independent operators will adopt this latest version of the Code. They will be joined in this by other major operators, including Bet365, Betway, The Kindred Group and many more.

IBA Chairperson, Sharon Byrne, states, “We recognise that there is a need for the industry to continue to develop the highest of standards for safer gambling. We believe in particular, that the credit card ban and the ‘whistle-to-whistle’ advertising restrictions are significant steps on that path.”

“The IBA has long called for the establishment of a regulator in Ireland”, says Byrne, “and we welcome the Government’s commitment to legislating for that in the coming period.”

“This Code is not the answer to problem gambling and we believe there is more that can be done within the forum provided by a regulator.  However, we believe that these measures continue the journey the industry has been on in recent years, to ensure standards are increased for all.”

The Code, adopted by all IBA members and the majority of licensed online companies, operating a Sportsbook or Casino in Ireland, is ground-breaking in its reach, and will be fully operational by the end of 2021.

The Code represents a set of minimum commitments by the industry, and operators in many cases will go above and beyond the provisions of the Code.

Primary Steps

The Safer Gambling Code has been updated overall, with two primary changes relating to credit cards and advertising.

Operators are committing to the removal of credit cards as a payment method both online and in shops.  This change is already in place for some operators and others will make the necessary technological changes within their business as soon as is possible, and no later than the end of the year.

The industry will also introduce a restriction on TV advertising on live sport before 9pm.  This removal of advertising will involve live sporting events and will run from 5 minutes before the event until 5 minutes after. This will not include horseracing or greyhound racing.

We believe these are important changes for customers” says Byrne, “and represent the single widest industry initiative seen in Ireland since the introduction of Safer Gambling Week.  We hope that those few operators who have not endorsed the Code will do so before long.  And we look forward to working with the proposed regulator to adopt further evidence-based measures.”

This is the latest in a series of initiatives to promote safe and responsible gambling led by the Irish Bookmakers association over the last twelve years, which has included:

  • February 2010 – First national gambling helpline established, the Dunlewey helpline
  • December 2013 – Publication of the first Responsible Gambling Code
  • July 2014 – Think 21 – Age verification Code introduced
  • April 2017 – Responsible Gambling training portal established
  • February 2018 – Responsible Gambling Week launched
  • March 2019 – Assisted in establishment of The Gambling Awareness Trust
  • August 2021 – Update to the Safer Gambling Code, with international adoption

*Gambling adverts must not be shown on TV before 9pm. This includes the sponsorship of television entertainment programmes but does not include televised sporting events. However, no pre-watershed television betting advertising will be permitted during the period from 5 minutes before a live event begins until five minutes after it concludes (‘Whistle to Whistle’). This includes breaks in play, for example, the half time period in a football match.


For a full copy of the Safer Gambling code, please see below.

Operators who have already committed to adopting the updated Safer Gambling Code include;

BarOne, Bet365, BetMcLean, BetWay, Boylesports, Casumo, Chieftain Bookmakers, Entain, Flutter Entertainment PLC, Fox’s betting, LiveScore Group, QuinnBet, SBO Bet, Sean Graham, The Tote, Track Sports and Tully Bookmakers.


Businesses seeking information on the Safer Gambling Code or who would like to adopt the code for their organisation, should contact

For help with problem gambling go to or phone 1800 936 725, both of which are maintained by the Gambling Awareness Trust and operate nationally. GAT is an independent charity that disburses significant funds towards service providers who have a proven track record for treating people that are affected by problem gambling or gambling addiction.  The Trust owns and manages the National Freephone line which gives immediate access to qualified specialists and also provides access to Counsellors in every county in Ireland.  GAT is funded by members of The Irish Bookmakers Association and other gambling operators.

About the Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA)

Founded in April 2005, the IBA is the largest representative body of the bookmaking industry in Ireland.  Its membership includes over 750 of the 800 betting shops in Ireland.

The Irish Bookmakers Association has a broad-based membership and represents major retail operators and a strong mix of independent operators.

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