The newly approved Irish gambling bill continues to take shape proactively.
Banning All Ads?
New language has been revealed in Ireland’s Gambling Regulation Bill has what appears to be potential bans of all forms of gambling promotion.
New Regulating Authority
The legislation regulating the new online gambling market in Ireland subjects the jurisdiction to taxes overseen by a newly appointed authority called the Gambling Regulatory Authority.
Irish citizens have indicated their demand for online gaming and the subsequent need for regulation through significant levels of patronage of unregulated offshore offerings.
How It Happened
The move to a newly regulated environment caught traction in September when the minister of law reform and iGaming bill leader James Browne appointed Anne Marie Caulfield to be the chief executive officer designate of the new regulator.
The Ban Clause
Article 148 reveals that operators stand to be banned from using free bets as an incentive to play. However, the broad language of the text leaves open the potential broader application to all promotional activities.
The verbiage addressing free bets prohibits relevant licensees from offering any “inducement to a person to participate, or continue to participate, in a relevant gambling activity.”
Government Leader Speaks
Taoiseach Micheál Martin commented on the priority of the bill:
This long-awaited and much-needed bill takes a responsible approach to balancing the freedom to gamble with the safeguards to protect people from falling prey to addiction.
The measure to protect people from addiction suggests that the bans could be as overarching as necessary to fulfil this goal as “a clearer framework for operators and for consumers.”
Use of Funds
Re-investment of taxation will be routed primarily to a newly established social impact fund designed to finance projects ensuring safe and responsible gaming ranging from research to public education to the provision of services.
The key provision of the bill granting certain blanket authority for protection is the prevention of access to gambling at certain times:
A licensee of a remote gambling licence shall not provide a relevant gambling activity by remote means during such days, or outside such hours, or both, as may be prescribed by regulations made by the Authority.
Acceptance and Support
As a power that other European jurisdictions retain and have experimented with in the past, the bill retains widespread support among the industry, including the trade association EGBA.
It is believed that Ireland is, at this point, well-equipped to implement proactive protective legislation across the local landscape, and the government appears equipped to impose equitable bans to the benefit of its players.