Government agrees to not cut bingo winnings after Tuesday protest

by Gary Ibbotson

The Government has agreed to not cut bingo winnings after protestors demonstrated outside Dail Eireann during the week.

In a new bill, large bingo competitions would only be allowed to pay out 50% of their takings in prize money but this has now been revised to 75%.

However, 25% of all takings will still have to go to charitable organisations.

After the protest took place, Sinn Fein TD Martin Kinney proposed the amendment to the legislation which was accepted by Minister of State David Stanton (FG) despite originally saying no revisions to the bill would be made.

“There was a very organised lobby by the commercial bingo operators against this bill, but the main objection being put forward was that there was a cap of 50% of takings at any licenced bingo game being allocated to prizes,” said Deputy Kenny.

“My simple amendment changed that 50% to 75%, leaving it at the discretion of the operators as to how much they give as prizes.”

About 50 bingo players protested the initially proposed changes which was organised by the Save Our Bingo campaign. The group said that the original bill would mean the “closure of every bingo hall in Ireland”.

The amended bill has been sent to the Seanad for further consideration.

Smaller competitions, where the total prize money is less than €5,000, are not affected by the new law.

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