Reforms of a 50-year-old gaming Bill currently before the Oireachtas could lead to a 300-fold increase in the maximum stake allowed for slot machines.

The current 3 cent maximum stake for gaming machines has been unchanged since the Gaming and Lotteries Act became law in 1956. The stake, and the payout limit of 50 cent, are widely seen as anomalous and have been flouted for years by amusement arcades.

However, concern has been expressed that the proposed increase of the limit to €10 for each stake, and a new maximum payout of €750, will exacerbate an already serious problem with gambling addiction in Ireland.

This provision of the new legislation was strongly criticised by two Independent Senators, David Norris and Gerard Craughwell, when the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill, 2019, was debated in the Upper House last month.

“They are enormous and vast increases. From 3 cent to €10 is bad enough, but from 50 cent to €750 clearly raises this situation beyond the question of gaming for amusement,” said Mr Norris.

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