Ireland’s minister of state at the Department of Justice and Equality, David Stanton, recently provided details of plans to make amendments to the country’s gambling laws. The reforms that have been proposed are expected to streamline existing fragmented and long-established gambling laws that are currently being implemented in Ireland. According to Dubin-based gambling law expert Dermot McGir, the reforms further seek to establish a new licensing scheme.
This is not, however, the first time that there are plans to update the Irish gambling legislations – reforms have been proposed to amend the laws for quite a number of years but they have all failed to materialize, at least, until now. For instance, proposals seeking reforms to the Irish gambling licensing and regulation were spelled out in the General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill that was published by the country’s government in July 2013. These proposals, however, did not advance materially since that time. This year, on the other hand, seems to have a little more promise pertaining to the same and Stanton hopes that the plans will be enacted before the end of the year.
McGir strongly believes that the proposed new general scheme of the Bill will bring about important and significant changes to the existing status quo.
“Gaming and lotteries, with the exception of the Irish National Lottery, in Ireland, are currently regulated by a disjointed and dated series of legislation: the Gaming and Lotteries Acts 1956 to 2013,” McGirr said in an interview. “The Scheme intends to bring almost all forms of betting, gaming, and lotteries under one legislative programme for the first time and to create a one-stop-shop licensing regime for all forms of gambling.”
On the same note, the way gambling is regulated is also bound to change – it will involve the establishment of a new independent statutory gambling authority. This represents a significant policy shift that goes a long way in aligning the Irish regime with a model that bears lots of similarities to the model that Britain’s Gambling Commission adopted.
A more in-depth look at the plans that were outlined by Stanton reveals that the new authority would be granted extended enforcement powers which will include the power to grant or revoke licenses as well as oversight over how the gambling operators comply with the laws. The plans further propose the limitations on certain gambling advertising practices, especially those that target younger people.