Ireland's New Gambling Law Making 'Significant Progress'

July 21, 2023
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Ireland’s Department of Justice is pleased with the “significant” progress made toward updating the country’s gambling laws, as its long-anticipated bill takes steps forward.

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Ireland’s Department of Justice (DOJ) is pleased with the “significant” progress made toward updating the country’s gambling laws, as its long-anticipated bill takes steps forward.

The Gambling Regulation Bill made it past committee stage on July 11, 2023, with the government successfully proposing several amendments. The bill still has several more stages to go through before it becomes law.

A number of these amendments are “technical in nature”, a spokesperson for the DOJ told VIXIO GamblingCompliance.

The DOJ said the amendments “of note” include the removal of the maximum relevant payment and winning limits for licensees of a charitable or philanthropic licence, the exemption of charities from the prohibition on sponsorship by licensees and a provision to ensure that a minimum of 30 percent of the money collected under a charity licence must be used for a specified purpose.

In addition, the government changed the timeline for the closure of accounts from six months to 13 months “to accommodate individuals who may partake in gambling once a year from having to open a new account annually in order to do so”, the DOJ said.

A six-month time limit for compliance with technical standards on software used to provide gambling was also added.

The government has also broadened the terminology on certain financial institutions to “ensure the scope, number and type of bodies that provide financial services are successfully captured by the legislation, and brought an amendment to provide for details of convictions of the beneficial owner of a licensee are to be recorded on the Register of Licensees”.

The number of state bodies with which the new Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland can enter into information-sharing agreements was also expanded.

However, concerns around the drafting of the law highlighted by opposition lawmakers and analysts do not appear to have been fully addressed by the amendments.

Irish senator Mark Wall, the Labour Party sports spokesperson, called on the government to introduce stricter advertising regulations, which have not been included.

Additionally, Regulus Partners said the law had “serious drafting issues" in its previous version, highlighting five examples of “prescriptive and unclear drafting” that do not appear to have been largely altered or removed.

These include sections in the law on restricting betting markets, advertising restrictions, an obligation not to offer inducements and an obligation not to provide relevant gambling activity by remote means at certain times.

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