Northern Ireland’s bookmakers may be allowed to open on Sundays if proposals by Social Development Minister Alex Attwood are accepted. Recognizing that modern punters have options when they encounter a locked betting shop door, Attwood thinks its time to scrap the law that prevents these establishments from taking wagers between Saturday night and Monday morning. Other changes Attwood is considering include boosting current limits on stakes and prizes to bring Northern Ireland more in line with what’s available in the UK.
Ireland’s eighth largest company Paddy Power has had a presence in Northern Ireland ever since its 2008 acquisition of McGranaghan Racing, so it follows that the company would be pleased to have less constraints on its operating practices. Speaking of, we’re still trying to figure out what constraints caused Paddy to flee the Canadian market on Feb. 14. That’s when Canadian account holders began receiving emails like the one below:
It has come to our attention that you are using a Canadian bank card. In accordance with Canadian law we will now be unable to take bets from Canada. Due to this, we will unfortunately have to block your debit/credit card and in turn close your account. You will still be able to withdraw any outstanding funds from your account for the next seven days. Please contact our support team if you require any assistance. From 12pm GMT (Monday 14th February 2011), we will no longer be able to accept payments from Canadian sources.
We appreciate your custom and hope that your experience with paddypower.com was an enjoyable one. If you have any questions about this decision or your account in general please feel free to contact our Customer Service team using the details below.
Paddy Power Customer Service Team
We contacted Paddy Power for details on what prompted their rather abrupt exit, but were told only that “relevant senior executives are currently unavailable for comment on Canadian situation.” Disconnected Canuck players in poker forums speculate that the recent liquidity sharing announcement by the two provinces (British Columbia and Quebec) offering online gambling services is the culprit. Can’t have ‘unregulated’ foreigners offering Canadians a better option, now can we?
Whatever the specific motive, the “take off, eh” ultimatum apparently delivered to Paddy Power hardly seems to fit the Canadian stereotype of excessive politeness. To make up for this slight, we’re sure that native son Calvin Ayre would like to extend an invitation to Paddy people to come drown their sorrows at Calvin’s 50th birthday bash in Dublin on May 25th. You still won’t get let back into the Canadian market, but for a spell you’ll forget Canada (and pretty much everything else) exists.