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Ireland to Introduce a Gambling Control Bill

- January 15, 2018 By Oliver Young -

Problem gambling one of the key issues addressed in the bill.

Irish authorities looking to pass a new Gambling Control Bill in 2018.

Ireland is determined to amend its gambling legislation so that it will be appropriate and suitable to the current situation. Up until 2015, the industry was regulated by a law that was passed in 1931. In 2015, Ireland finally passed a modern gambling law. The 2015 Gambling Act includes provisions on online gambling and it introduced a 1% gross gaming revenue tax, as well as a net revenue tax on sports betting operations.

Last year, the Republican Party announced its new gambling bill initiative and the purpose was to regulate and specify and the aspects which are not adequately covered by the 2015 Act. Most political factors in Ireland agree that problem gambling needs to be tackled and it was evident that the new solution will definitely include provisions on problem gambling, among other areas.

An Independent Regulatory Body to Be Established

It appears that the Government accepted the idea for a new gambling law, as the idea of a new Gambling Control Bill was introduced to the public last week. One of the changes that will be introduced if the new bill is passed will be the establishment of an independent regulatory body that will be entrusted with the task of regulating the industry, akin to the UK Gambling Commission.

The responsible Minister, David Stanton who is in charge of Equality, Immigration and Integration presented the situation in front of the Cabinet and asked for an approval to develop a new draft. A set of gambling related bills reached the Department of Justice as early as 2013, but with the exception of the Gambling Act of 2015, the bills have not been put forward.

The 2013 draft included a recommendation to establish a regulatory body within the Government, i.e. the DOJ, but that idea is abandoned in favour of the establishment of an independent body. At the moment, the Irish gambling industry is largely self-regulated, and experts feel that an independent body will be more balanced and will provide a greater level of security to customers.

Bookies in Favour of Legislation

Advertising will also be an important topic, as the draft version from 2013 contained provisions on gambling advertising. It is certain that the new bill will introduce certain restrictions. The regulatory body will be in charge of observing how operators advertise and whether their advertising efforts are within the legal framework. The main concern is to protect consumers, especially vulnerable individuals, i.e. those that have or might develop a gambling problem.

Online gambling isn’t the only area that the new bill will cover, there will also be provisions on land-based casinos and other gambling facilities. The new bill will set the maximum number of gambling tables that might be featured in a land-based casino and it will also include provisions on gambling machines.

The Minister informed other members of Cabinet that a large proportion of the work is already done. Betting operators stated that they have nothing against regulations and that the industry should be regulated. The Irish Bookmakers Association feels that offshore operators should oblige to the same rules and standards that are imposed on Irish operator. The Government expects a law to be passed by the end of this year.

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