RTÉ bars N.I. viewers from competitions

Ireland's national broadcaster, Raidió Teilifís Éireann, has confirmed that it has now stopped allowing people in the North entering some of its biggest competitions.

Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 11:20 am
Updated Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 12:24 pm

The new restrictions came into effect this month after a review by RTE and as a result of differing regulations north and south.

In practical terms, it means that viewers and listeners from throughout Northern Ireland will no longer be able to enter into phone or text competitions which incur a ‘premium rate entry cost,’ including those offered on popular programmes such as ‘The Late, Late Show. ‘

The ‘Journal’ had asked whether the decision was Brexit-related or due to a change of policy at RTÉ.

A spokesperson for RTÉ responded: “Following a review and arising from differences in the appropriate regulations in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, RTÉ has made the decision to limit entry into premium rate competitions on its television, radio and online services to residents in the Republic of Ireland only.”

A competition posted by RTÉ yesterday afternoon states within the terms and conditions that it is “open to Republic of Ireland residents only,” and that the promoter “reserves the right to request proof of residency.”

The statement from RTÉ does not identify which regulations it examined.

However when questioned on current premium rate competition rules in NI, the Department for Communities (DfC) confirmed that prize competitions must involve a “substantial degree of skill,” as opposed to those with uncomplicated or easy answers.

A spokesperson said: “The Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (NI) Order, 1985 prohibits the conduct of any prize competition in which success does not depend to a substantial degree on the exercise of skill.

“In 2012, the N.I. Executive agreed that a Bill should be prepared to reform the law on gambling but, due to competing priorities within the former Department for Social Development, the Bill was never completed. Any new proposed changes to Northern Ireland gambling law would be for an incoming Minister to determine.”