Ireland has just approved its ‘Interim Gaming and Lotteries Act’, which sets up the foundations for an extensive reform of the country’s gambling laws next year.
This will allow for a long-awaited modernization of existing laws for the sector dating back from 1931 and 1956, updating codes and standards for the digital age and modern consumer.
The Dáil described the interim measures as a way to support the ‘better promotion of local gaming and lottery activity’ and James Browne, minister of state with social responsibility for gambling regulation, praised it as a step towards ‘modern, sensible, and effective’ regulations.
“Gambling is a large and evolving industry. It must be the subject of a modern, sensible and effective licensing and regulatory approach. My Department is now engaged in drafting a general scheme of a new Bill to provide for that comprehensive reform,” he said.
“I was also pleased to secure ‘seed funding’ of €200,000 for the new regulator as part of the justice allocation in Budget 2021,” he added.
The Interim Gaming and Lotteries Act will focus on streamlining the application process for gambling and lottery permits, and also the application process for small scale gaming and lottery activities.
In addition, the Act will also arrange a minimum age of 18 years old for all licensed gambling products, setting a standard for different measures from across the betting, gaming and lottery industries.
The Irish government introduced a proposal establishing an independent gambling regulator to oversee the licensing of all gambling operators last year. This ensured that gambling operators received industry-wide support.
But after the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, this plan was set aside and expected to resume until at least 2021.
Despite the government’s plans to modernize Ireland’s gambling laws, the question remains on how it plans to establish key regulatory agencies and allocate resources to support health and treatment services to prevent gambling addiction and problem gambling.