Mia Gardner | 17 Jan 2018
The Gambling Control Bill’s first draft was proposed back in 2013, when authorities were attempting to regulate the country’s gaming markets. However, with the progress of this bill having stagnated, many operators have reverted back to the laws of the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956 – although this outdated legislation often confuses players and operators alike.
As an example, casinos are illegal in Ireland, but private clubs may offer casino games like Blackjack and Poker in the same way that a brick and mortar casino may. Betting itself is not completely outlawed, but all gambling debts are considered ‘null and void’ under the Act of 1956.
Today’s lawmakers and gaming operators have now endeavoured to modernise existing laws with the Gambling Control Bill. However, the bill has yet to pass the many hurdles it has faced since 2013, and still today has not passed beyond the Irish Cabinet’s drafting stage.
The Ministry of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration has now proposed a new change to the Gambling Control Bill to prompt its progress once again, headed up by Minister David Stanton. Stanton is now vying for the Cabinet’s approval to put his amendment to a vote, which could remove some of the bill’s largest obstacles and pave the way for new debates among lawmakers.
The proposed change would remove the responsibility to regulate gambling from the Department of Justice’s shoulders, and instead allocate them to a new and independent regulatory body. This body, which would be akin to the UK Gambling Commission, would have authority over all gambling-related content, advertising, player safety issues, problem gambling programmes, and national research studies.
Irish gambling operators like Paddy Power-Betfair and Boylesports are already eagerly awaiting the news that the bill is in progress. Both firms have joined a large party of other local gambling service providers to call for a decision on the long-stagnant gaming legislation.
Operators have long been operating in Ireland without legal clarity, which has prevented them from fairly competing with offshore rivals. Furthermore, without a dedicated regulator to oversee gambling service provision, players and providers both remain at risk within the local industry.