Varadkar: New gambling laws will not close bingo halls

Bingo players protested outside the Dáil this week saying legislation being considered by the government would put the halls at risk.

Varadkar: New gambling laws will not close bingo halls

The Taoiseach has said new gambling laws will not close bingo halls.

Bingo players protested outside the Dáil this week saying legislation being considered by the government would put the halls at risk.

The laws would mean 25% of the proceeds of bingo would go to charity.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar rejected the idea it will close halls.

"I want to reassure people that there are no plans in this legislation at all that would cause the closure of any bingo halls in Ireland," said Mr Varadkar.

"Rather the legislations seeks to ensure that bingo halls - many of them big commercial operators - actually provide money to charity as they are required to do."

The Gamings and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill will limit the prize payout to 50% of the takings.

Yesterday, more than 100 bingo players sat down outside Leinster House for a special "bingo Dáil".

Both Independent TD, Michael Healy-Rae and leader of the Social Democrats Roisín Shortall showed their support by calling out a few lines of Bingo.

Minister of State, David Stanton, said the "modest" legislation would not force bingo halls to close.

"I am proposing that a maximum of 25% of proceeds can go to bingo operators while a minimum of 25% would go to charity and 50% would go to prize-winners," he said.

"Given its social appeal, people do not play bingo based solely on the prize level. If they did they would likely gamble elsewhere."

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