James Browne, the minister of state for law reform, has said he is “especially enthusiastic” about progressing gambling regulations in 2022, in the latest government bulletin on Ireland’s protracted legal reforms.
The minister made the statement in a forward for Ireland’s Justice Plan for 2022, which provides an overview of the department's strategic goals.
“I am absolutely committed to progressing legislation regarding the regulation of gambling which will establish a public safety and well-being focused Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland,” Browne said.
A timeline provided by the Ministry of Justice in its latest plan confirms the expected launch of a new Gambling Regulatory Authority by early 2023. A window to apply for the CEO job at the regulator closed earlier in March.
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.
However, gambling legislation has a history of being delayed in Ireland, lending every update an added importance, especially to alleviate the concerns of those political parties and pressure groups calling for the immediate creation of a regulator.
Currently, the general scheme of the Gambling Regulation Bill has been referred to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice for pre-legislative scrutiny, which has already held several discussions with key industry stakeholders to discuss their concerns with the bill.
Although the government makes steady, if slow, progress on its overhaul of gambling laws, an opposition bill that would ban most forms of gambling advertising has picked up steam.
A Labour Party bill to outlaw all gambling marketing across digital, print and broadcast media, except sponsorship, has progressed to committee stage.
The bill even appeared to gather approval from government minister Browne, who called the draft legislation “important”.