Irish Government Approves Wide-Ranging Gambling Regulation Bill

  • The legislation paves the way for the creation of the first Irish gambling regulatory body
  • The plan is for the new independent regulator to be up and running next year
  • A crackdown on gambling advertising and VIP schemes also are going into place
  • Efforts to introduce such a bill and establish a regulator began back in 2013
Irish flag
The Irish government has approved a new bill that overhauls gambling regulation in the country. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Getting an independent regulator

The Irish government has approved the Gambling Regulation Bill which will create widespread changes in the country’s gambling sector. The bill, passed on Tuesday, aims to bring a more modern approach to gambling regulation.

focus on protecting the well-being and safety of the public

The legislation paves the way for the creation of the first Irish gambling regulatory body. The Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland will focus on protecting the well-being and safety of the public and oversee both online and in-person gambling. It will also have the power to regulate gambling websites and advertising. The plan is for the new independent regulator to be up and running next year. Anne Marie Caulfield has already been appointed as the chief executive.

Wide-ranging changes

Another key aspect of the bill is a ban on gambling ads airing between 5:30am and 9pm. There will also be a crackdown on any ads that might appeal to young people or that might promote excessive gambling.

The new licensing regime allows for three types of licenses: charitable/philanthropic causes, business-to-business, and business-to-consumer operations. Anyone found operating without a suitable license could face up to eight years in prison. VIP schemes and inducements will no longer be permitted.

designed to meet the challenges of gambling responsibly in 21st century Ireland”

Speaking about the passage of the bill, Ireland Prime Minister Micheál Martin called it “an important and necessary piece of legislation, designed to meet the challenges of gambling responsibly in 21st century Ireland.”

Martin believes that the new bill will allow there to be a balanced approach to regulating gambling and protecting vulnerable people while still offering individuals the freedom to gamble. It also provides a more detailed framework for consumers and operators.

Making progress

Minister of State James Browne has been leading the charge to push through the Gambling Regulation Bill. Efforts began in 2013 to develop a new gambling framework in Ireland that would create a dedicated regulator. Many stakeholders were in favor of just letting the gambling sector continue to self-regulate, as it has been a very successful industry in the country.

The Gambling Regulation Bill reforms legislation that dates all of the way back to 1953, which was deemed inadequate to deal with modern-day challenges.

Some restrictions have been put into place over the years. For example, sportsbooks no longer accept credit cards as a payment method and there is a pre-watershed whistle-to-whistle ban in place for advertising during live sports broadcasts in Ireland.