New Regulator for Irish Online Gambling With Free Bets Prohibited

Arthur M. - November 20, 2022
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A new gambling regulatory body will be created in Ireland. A bill has been introduced to update the way gambling is controlled in the country, which will restrict advertising and free bets.

The Irish government has approved a new set of online gambling regulations. Led by James Browne, the minister of state for law reform, the framework for a new regulatory body will be developed, with new rules to ban free bets and daytime advertising.

The Gambling Regulation Bill

Gambling in Ireland is currently regulated by multiple departments, with little or no coordination. These include the department of justice and equality, revenue commissioners from the Irish Tax Authority and district courts. The Gambling Regulation Bill seeks to replace this system with a single body overseeing licensing, imposing fines where needed, and restricting advertising.

Three license categories are planned, covering online and in-person gambling. The new bill will implement B2C gaming, betting, and lottery licences, B2B licences, and charity licences. 

Adverts for gambling will be banned between 5.30 in the morning and 9 in the evening. Other restrictions will prevent free bets and promotional offers. 

Comments From Irish Government

The taoiseach, Micheál Martin, has said, “This approval by cabinet is significant, and the bill's publication is unquestionably a major milestone. It is an important and necessary piece of legislation, designed to meet the challenges of gambling responsibly in 21st century Ireland,” 

“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. This bill provides a clearer framework for operators and consumers.”

“Reforming gambling legislation and regulation in Ireland is a key commitment in our programme for government and justice plan and has been one of my key priorities as a minister,” said Browne. “I am pleased to have gotten the draft legislation to this point and look forward now to it being published and brought through the houses to enactment."

This legislation will establish a robust gambling regulator that will focus on preventing harm to people vulnerable to problem gambling and particularly protecting children, and also on enforcing a strong, modern regulatory framework for the gambling industry.

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