Bookies Promote iPads in Betting Shops
Meetings are being held to discuss the possibility of installing computer tablet technology, such as iPads, in betting shops. The new technology would address the loss of revenue created by customers sitting in the bet shops and gaming on the internet. Instead, bookmaker-related sites would be available in the shops on iPads.
As stated by Joe Lewis, Ladbrokes’ managing director in Ireland, the idea of allowing an online gaming option in betting shops is being received ‘‘sympathetically’’ by the Government.
Previously, bookmakers had asked for specialized fixed-odds gaming terminals to be allowed in the shops. Some government ministers, most notably Pat Rabbitte, were opposed to that request. The use of iPads is viewed more favorably, partly because many betters are already using the ubiquitous computer device anyway.
In an article in The Sunday Business Post, Lewis said to ‘‘forget betting terminals, they are too emotive a subject.” He went on to explain than many times he had seen people in his betting shops, drinking free coffee and betting online with their laptop or iPad. Unlike these bets, which gained nothing for the betting shop, the new approach would encourage betters to use the betting shop’s affiliate web site. According to Lewis, proposals made by justice minister Alan Shatter are encouraging, although details must still be finalized.
Shatter added that he was not allowing LasVegas-style casinos in Ireland. However, some smaller casinos would be licensed. According to sources within the industry, current thinking is to allow a maximum of twelve to fifteen tables. Since the number of tables currently in use by most private clubs is less than this, such a change would allow gaming clubs to increase their size. A possible three-to-one rule for gaming machines would mean than the new limits would be 36 to 45 gambling machines in a casino.