Close sidebar

New Gaming Bill Proposed in Ireland – Is Betting Affected?

Gambling, or gaming as it’s commonly referred to as, has been legal in Ireland since the 1950s, but the Gambling and Lotteries Act of 1956 is anything but perfect.

For starters, the minimum age to gamble, according the act is 16 years old. For what it’s worth, casinos have demonstrated a strong sense of social responsibility setting the minimum age at their sites at 18. No wonder they’ve enjoyed respect from the general public.

Finding an online casino list for Ireland is rather easy!

Here’s a detailed overview of the gambling bill and its implications.

The Purpose of the Irish Gambling Control Bill 2018

In general, the Irish Gambling Control Bill 2018 is based on the General Scheme, which was first introduced in 2013. Its primary purpose is to control and monitor gambling facilities of all kinds, both land-based in Ireland and online casino that offer their products and service in Ireland.

How is this going to be carried out? By establishing the Office of Gambling Control Ireland (OGCI). Besides putting a firm grip on casino operators, the OGCI will ensure that players are treated fairly. Moreover, it emphasizes on the protection of vulnerable groups, such as children, and mitigating the risks of gambling. There’s a special clause which specifically focuses on advertising, just as an added layer of protection for the most vulnerable groups, such as children and players that have self excluded themselves. Gambling calls for a big dose of responsibility!C:\Users\User\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\gambling_slot_machine_casino_game_play_win_jackpot-759684.jpg

The Irish Gambling Market If the Bill Gets Enacted

It will be changed, drastically! The bill will change how casinos look like in Ireland. To our surprise, it goes in great detail, such as how many tables can the operator have on the floor and how many slot machines there will be on the premises. However, in our opinion, the most severe blow for the industry as we know it is the limit of 40 casinos in the whole of Ireland. Limits of this kind can have a negative impact in the long run. In addition, there are no provision for any “super casino” license, or special permit. In other words, casinos will be relatively small, with plenty of space for various amenities and different kinds of entertainment.

As the title of this article suggests, we’re going to talk about betting as well. The new Gambling Control Bill 2018 has betting in its scope as well. Since the nature of these establishments differs greatly, the OGCI will offer 5 different gambling and betting licenses:

  • Betting Licenses
  • Gaming Licenses
  • Personal Licenses
  • Temporary Licenses
  • Remote Licenses (both for Betting and Gaming)

But, there’s a big BUT. The OGCI will not be omnipowerful in the domain of gambling and betting. Horse racing and Greyhounds are off limits. The Horse Racing Ireland and the Greyhound Board will continue to regulate betting on racing.

Centralized Regulation Leads to Efficiency

Regardless of the activity at hand, centralized regulation is way more efficient. At the moment, prior to the enactment of the said bill, a number of different official bodies regulate gambling on Irish soil. Not only is this inefficient, but it calls for bureaucracy, which is extremely counterproductive in such a dynamic industry.

Other developed markets such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Denmark among others, all of them have one regulatory body. One regulator keeps the gambling products, the betting services, and the licensees in check. This way, the regulator can respond quickly to the needs of the operators, yet still comply with the laws and regulations enacted by the respective government. Should there be any changes that need to be implemented, they can be enforced in a rather short time. The existing system calls for exhausting coordination between the different bodies and departments.

What’s the Situation in Other Regions?

The advent of online gaming in particular mandates frequent updates to gambling bills. Online casino and sports betting operators have reshaped the industries, making it easier for the average punter to find what he/she seeks. The United Kingdom has the UK Gambling Commission and it’s seen as the most advanced gaming market worldwide. It’s served as an example for the legalization of online gambling in New Jersey, and it’s a trend setter in the global gaming industry.

It has absolute control over land-based and online casinos. It allows all willing applicants to apply for a license, and they will gain access to the UK market. Should they attempt to entertain UK players illegally, they put themselves in a position to pay up to 45% of their revenues in taxes and duties.

This is a great example for the, hopefully, soon to be established OGCI. Licensed casinos and betting operators still pay their share of taxes, but the percentage is way lower. At the moment, as long as the operator is licensed it has access to the Irish audience. By following the UKGC’s approach, Ireland guarantees an increase in tax revenues, which is just what it needs.

Local Betting Operators Call for Thorough Regulation

Local Irish bookmakers have long requested more regulations in the industry, especially for foreign bookies. As they say it, they’re not against the competition, they just want it to be fair, and on the same level, operating in the same conditions. The aforementioned bill almost guarantees it. Since both the potential licensees, the authorities, and the Irish people benefit from such changes, we see no reason why this bill won’t be fully enacted and enforced by the end of this year. It was repealed in 2013, but much has changed in the past 5 years.

However, it’s worth noting that the betting operators have called for an all out ban on gaming ads. It’s a valid statement, but is it really fair? The Irish Government has a lot of reasons to finally enact the Gambling Control Act 2018. Literally everybody is calling for it. So why the authorities haven’t introduced one yet? We don’t ask for an answer, we just want this bill to go through. A clean slate is what all parties are looking for.

Author: Maurice Gleeson

Irish exile currently residing in Barcelona but stay up to the date with the latest in League of Ireland and the Premier League.