On 20 March the Irish Government announced it has approved the establishment of a national gambling regulatory authority.
The news, announced by Minister of State for the Department of Justice, David Stanton, is one of the key recommendations of the Inter-Departmental Working Group on the Future Licensing and Regulation of Gambling – set up in January 2018.
The working group’s report, released on 1 March, was approved by Cabinet last week.
Minister Stanton said, ‘The Government has made a major commitment to the modernisation of our licensing and regulatory environment for gambling with the ultimate aim of creating a regulatory authority that will be self-financing through fees and levies imposed on licensed gambling operators.’
‘A modern and effectively regulated gambling environment will ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that gambling will be a safe, fair and entertaining activity for the majority of those who choose to take part in it,’ Minister Stanton added.
‘We must ensure that it will provide enhanced consumer protection for players while limiting the harmful effects on young people and those who may be susceptible to addiction.
‘The authority will also regulate the industry in respect of the protection of vulnerable persons, age restrictions, staff training and self-exclusion measures and controls on advertising, promotions and sponsorship.’
Minister Stanton said that the Government intends the new regulator will be responsible for licensing and regulating all gambling activity, including online.
‘The Department of Justice will now draft the necessary heads of legislation while work will also be advanced on scoping the resources needed to establish an effective regulatory regime,’ Minister Stanton said.
The new regulator will be an independent statutory body under the auspices of the Department of Justice and Equality.
The Irish Government also announced that it is publishing the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019, which provides for the modernisation of the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956.
The amendment will standardise minimum age requirements for all forms of gambling, and provide clarity around licensing of gaming and lotteries for organisations like sporting clubs.
‘Gambling activity is of considerable economic impact in Ireland with an annual industry value of between €6-8 billion. I am certain that the two measures announced this week will help ensure the proper licensing and regulation of the many varied forms of gambling available as the industry continues to grow and evolve’, concluded Minister Stanton.
IAGR President Trude Felde said, ‘Establishing a dedicated regulatory body for gambling in Ireland is great news and we look forward to watching how the new regime takes shape.
‘Setting up a new regulator takes a lot of work but one of the advantages is that you can learn from other jurisdictions in how they’ve navigated around difficult regulatory issues.’
Read the Inter-Departmental Working Group on the Future Licensing and Regulation of Gambling’s full report.