The Government has announced wide-ranging plans to curb the promotion and advertising of gambling services. The announcement by Taoiseach Micheál Martin has been welcomed by campaigners and betting companies alike and is a progressive move in an important area that has been a long time in the making.

The headline elements are that there will be a ban on TV and radio advertising of gambling between 5-30 AM and 9 PM, aimed primarily it seems at the protection of children; what is described as a total ban on social media advertising and new restrictions aimed at curbing illegal bookmaking through the threat of eight-year prison terms.

Rob Hartnett of Sport for Business spoke on Morning Ireland today on RTÉ Radio One about the fact that much of the detail would come later with the actions of the new Gambling regulator but this will be complex and there are lots of areas that will need to be addressed.

First off the idea of tighter regulation is a good thing. The prevalence of ads for online betting and online casinos is relentless during live sports broadcasts and while the activity itself remains fully legal, the reaction of operators welcoming the new rules hints that even within the industry, an acceptance of change had already been made.

One of the main issues could be resolved if alignment is made with proposed regulatory changes in the UK from which much of our sports TV comes.

A proposed white paper outlining what could be similar changes was originally scheduled for 2021 but was delayed, again, and again in the summer when the Conservative Party leadership changes threw timetables in the air.

Without alignment, the question will arise of how an Irish regulator will police overseas broadcasts. This will only arise as an inconvenience for a major broadcaster like Sky Sports who will have the technical capacity to run different advertising blocks in Ireland than in the UK.

The larger problem would be in the more invasive promotion and advertising of Premier League shirt fronts and LED boards at English Premier League grounds.

Without prohibition in the UK, how will this be possible to be restricted in Ireland, and if it cannot be, will the regulator have the power to prevent the broadcast, or indeed the images to be published of games in which advertising is visible?

Digital advertising through phones and online will also be a challenge.

At the start of this season LiveScore, an information app used by hundreds of thousands in Ireland bought the broadcast rights which gives it exclusive access to a lot of Champions League games here.

In order to watch you have to download the app. The business model is the serving of online betting ads as part of the experience. Age restrictions apply but how effective are they really when children can still use parents’ phones or casting devices to watch the games and therefore still be exposed?

If the legislation does restrict the Livescore model will that end up in the courts with the potential of Ireland becoming a blackout area for much of that football coverage?

Other questions that spring to mind include whether the restriction will apply to the sponsorship of programming relating to horse and greyhound racing which have traditionally been more closely linked to the betting industry; whether the watershed will apply to advertising and indeed the draw of the National Lottery, and what impact there may be on club lottery schemes that are run up and down the country.

“We look forward to assessing the detailed terms of the bill when published, and working constructively with the new authority to put in place effective measures,” said Ian Proctor, Chair of Flutter UK and Ireland the parent company of Betfair and Paddy Power.

The influence of the industry on one side and advocates of prohibition on the other will create what will doubtless be a quite heated debate over how far the restrictions should go and how they will be implemented.

At least though the whistle has been blown to make a safer and more controlled environment possible.

We can only hope, having worked in the sector for many years at a senior level, that the right questions are going to be asked and the right technical solutions created to be truly effective.