3 February 2023
By Roger Kennedy
The new Gambling Regulation Bill is set to revolutionise the gambling landscape in Ireland. Its introduction comes from an appetite to update the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956 and the Betting Act 1931. The need for changes has come due to the many changes that have happened since these earlier Acts came into force.
We spoke to a gambling industry expert from JustGamblers who told us,
“The gambling industry in Ireland has been self-regulated to this point. That is about to change with the new Bill. There will be a new Gambling Regulatory Authority and rules around advertising, with credit card betting being prohibited. These are major changes that will have a significant impact on the gambling industry in the country.”
Given that the industry is now worth around €8 billion annually, this impact could be unwelcome news for some operators. To understand the significance of the new Bill, it helps to look at it in more detail.
What is included in the new Bill?
The Gambling Regulation Bill defines gambling in Ireland across all channels. It covers everything that involves staking money with the chance of losing or winning, except the National Lottery. The changes to be implemented because of the Bill include:
- A ban on all social media advertising, with anyone wanting to see online gambling advertising having to opt-in.
- The prohibition of betting company sponsorship for any club with juvenile members.
- The banning of children from all betting premises.
- A ban on inducements such as VIP programs, free bets, and free credit.
- The introduction of a watershed ban for online and TV betting advertising between 5.30 am and 9 pm.
- A ban on credit card betting.
The new legislation will also lead to the creation of a National Gambling Exclusion Register. Every gambling company must sign up to this register. Once a person who is having problems with gambling adds their name to the list in this register, they must not be allowed to use the services of any gambling company.
How will the Bill be enforced?
The new Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland is being established to regulate the industry in the country. The authority will consist of seven members, and its Chief Executive, Anne Marie Caulfield, has already been appointed. The authority will be responsible for licensing all companies that provide gambling products and services, and it will police adherence to the new legislation.
Expectations are that the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland will become active in 2023 after the draft Gambling Regulation Bill is enacted. Its work will not only affect companies that are based in Ireland. Offshore companies that have an impact on Ireland and its laws will be affected. The Regulator will be able to apply to the court to request it to compel the Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Ireland to block the website of any relevant company.
It’s clear that the Gambling Regulation Bill will impose significant restrictions on gambling in Ireland and is likely to impact the operations and profits of gambling companies.