The jurisdiction of Ireland has reformed gambling laws for the first time in over 50 years.
The new model updates the antiquated Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956 and Betting Act 1931 as a contemporary 15-year work in progress led by Minister of State for Law Reform James Browne and predecessor David Stanton.
In what was widely seen as a self-regulated process, online betting has grown in Ireland with the ongoing roll-out of betting products complemented by online games such as poker and roulette, instant payment, and in-game betting during events. Overall the gambling industry has grown to an estimated value of €8 billion per year.
Range of Protections
The protections are embedded across all gaming platforms, from physical bookmaker shops and casinos to all online platforms, and applicable to all stakes that carry the possibility of a loss or gain.
Enforcement will be presided over by a new seven-member Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland, with Anne Marie Caulfied appointed as chief executive to extend licenses to both physical and online enterprises.
A comprehensive list of rules governing advertising, marketing, promotion, and sponsorship has already been generated. The legislation authorises any unlicensed operators to be blocked by the Irish Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Additional penalties will also be levied for violators, of up to €20 million or 10% of the takeover, with serious breaches eligible for prison sentences of up to eight years for failing to protect children.
Key restrictions in the bill include the prohibition against advertising on social media, with opt-ins necessary for those wanting to see online gambling ads at all.
Any club with juvenile members will also be prohibited from sponsoring gambling companies, with children banned from gambling premises across the board.
Further incentives will be prohibited, including so-called “free bets”, VIP treatment, free credit, and free hospitality.
More Child Protections
A key ban to protect children in the new Irish regime is the prohibition against TV and online advertising between 5.30 am and 9 pm.
Credit Cards Prohibited
In a measure emulating the key model of Ireland’s UK neighbours, credit card betting will be banned.
According to Browne, industry revenue proceeds will be reallocated through a Social Impact Fund financed by levies determined by overall industry turnover.
All licensed organisations are responsible for denying access to players who opt out on the new national exclusion register.
The comprehensiveness of Ireland’s model indicates that a proactive approach to enforcement will establish a precedent of sustainability.