Ireland Gambling Regulation Bill Finally Published

December 5, 2022
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Ireland’s justice minister, Helen McEntee, has published the country's long-awaited Gambling Regulation Bill 2022, 66 years after its current primary gambling law was introduced.

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Ireland’s justice minister, Helen McEntee, has published the country's long-awaited Gambling Regulation Bill 2022, 66 years after its current primary gambling law was introduced.

It follows the approval of its publication earlier this month, hailed as a major milestone by politicians for the long-awaited reforms.

The bill, which is now in its first stage with the Dáil Éireann (parliament), sets out the country’s new regulatory framework and licensing rules.

The draft legislation also paves the way for the establishment of the new Gambling Regulatory Authority.

Sharon Byrne, chair of the Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA), welcomed the news, calling it a "landmark day in the reform of gambling legislation".

"The bill, when enacted, will enable the industry to continue to develop the highest standards for safer gambling in Ireland. A fit-for-purpose and appropriately resourced regulatory authority is essential to the sustainable future of the retail bookmaking industry," she said.

At the time of writing, there did not appear to be many changes in the regulation regarding past proposals such as a ban on bonus inducements, but a ban on limiting winning players appears to have been removed.

The bill provides for three types of licences for both land-based and online gambling: business-to-consumer gaming, betting and lottery licences; business-to-business licences; and gambling licences for charitable/philanthropic causes.

There is a proposed watershed prohibiting gambling advertising between 5:30am and 9:00pm, a credit card gambling ban and the regulator will be given powers to prohibit inducement offers and promotions.

In an attempt to avoid a long transition to the new proposed rules, the government has made various preparations ahead of the bill being published.

A Programme Board has already been established by the Department of Justice, which is tasked with “minimising the time between the enactment of the legislation and the date on which the regulator commences operations”.

In September 2022, long-time senior civil and public servant Anne Marie Caulfield was named as the designated CEO of the country’s planned independent gambling regulator.

The regulator is expected to become operational in Autumn 2023 and the Department of Justice has already pledged €1m to help with its creation.

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