2019 is expected to be the year of significant changes for Ireland’s online gambling industry as the country’s government prepares to update the industry’s regulatory framework which has often been criticized for being terribly outdated. The country’s government is expected to publish new draft legislation in the next few months but could the long-awaited reforms finally be seen through in 2019.

The newly minted framework that is expected to be published soon will regulate the country’s multi-billion gambling and betting industries which are dominated by some of the largest gaming companies on the planet. Naturally, as much as the gambling industry may be very lucrative, it still needs to be modernized and this is exactly what the Irish government is trying to do. One of the things that the government is trying to do to achieve this is by introducing newer forms of gambling as well as guaranteeing better protection for consumers.

As mentioned earlier the Irish gambling industry is regulated by outdated and even obscure laws as has been noted by a number of experts in the recent past. These include the Betting Act of 1931, the Totalisator Act 1929 and the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956 – the latter can best be described as a ban on gaming and lotteries with certain very limited exceptions. For instance, there are limitations on Tote betting which means it cannot be offered directly by gaming operators for profit. In general, under the current Irish regulatory framework, gaming licenses are not available to providers of remote gaming, remote lottery or remote Totte betting services. The Betting Act 1931, on the other hand, does not distinguish between Irish and off-state remote bookmakers or “betting intermediaries.”

Why an Overhaul is Needed

Several small amendments have been made over the years but these small laws do not really reflect the modern-day market trends as well as the rapid growth of internet gaming. With the proposed legislation, the country’s government hopes to address such concerns as problem gambling and underage gambling, both of which are very sensitive issues. Another aspect that the updated framework will address includes sponsorships, betting ads, virtual or online betting, licensing as well as gambling promotions.

Perhaps the most significant change that the proposed bill will introduce will be the establishment of an independent regulatory authority which will be tasked with licensing, regulating, monitoring and enforcement of the gambling industry. This new regulator would also collaborate with the Department of Justice and Equality as well as other authorities from time to time. In addition to this, it will be the largest regulatory body in the country’s history and will employ up to a hundred people.