Ireland's Ministry Of Justice Provides Regulator Update

March 16, 2022
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​​​​​​​Applications to become the head of Ireland’s long-awaited Gambling Regulatory Authority are only open until 3:00pm on March 21, according to an update on the timeline for reforms from the Ministry of Justice.

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Applications to become the head of Ireland’s long-awaited Gambling Regulatory Authority are only open until 3:00pm on March 21, according to an update on the timeline for reforms from the Ministry of Justice.

Applications for the position of CEO designate are being managed by the Public Appointments Service in conjunction with an executive search agency, the Ministry of Justice told VIXIO GamblingCompliance, providing an update on the country’s journey to create a new gambling regulator.

Ireland’s latest Programme for Government commits to the creation of an independent gambling regulator, covering online, apps and land-based gambling, as well as advertising regulations.

“A Programme Board has been established to ensure that the legislation and the operational preparations are progressed in parallel so that the Authority commences operations as soon as possible after enactment. There is a pathway mapped for this legislation progressing, which will facilitate the Authority being established and operational in 2023,” the Ministry of Justice said.

This is not the first time the ministry has committed to launching regulation in 2023, but given the country’s recent history of delaying gambling reforms, repeated confirmation of the timeline will reassure many operators and politicians, some of whom are even advocating for the immediate creation of a regulator.

The government has already approved the Gambling Regulation Bill for priority drafting, which is already underway, and publication. The legislation will set out the framework and legislative basis for the new authority.

Currently, the general scheme of the Gambling Regulation Bill has been referred to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice for pre-legislative scrutiny, which recently held a discussion with key industry stakeholders to discuss their concerns with the bill.

Gambling addiction expert Professor Colin O’Gara also submitted his own opinion on the bill, separate to the operators and trade groups that attended the committee meeting.

The psychiatrist, like the stakeholders in the meeting, supports the introduction of a regulator, but he wants to ensure it is given enough power to “make a real difference”, including the ability to revoke a licence and issue hefty fines.

O’Gara proposes the introduction of a statutory levy of around 1 percent of the industry’s turnover to help develop gambling treatment and support services in the country.

He also wants fixed-odds betting terminals to be banned and for a mandatory loss limit to be introduced.

Additionally, O’Gara wants more consideration given to the possibility of restricting gambling in places where alcohol is available, as he believes it can aggravate people's gambling behaviour.

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