The ‘Interim Gaming and Lotteries Act’ has been passed by Ireland, laying the foundations for a planned sweeping reform in 2021 of the nation’s gambling laws.
A long-awaited modernisation of current legislation for the industry dating back to 1931 and 1956, updating codes and standards for the digital age and modern customers, would be provided by the reform of Ireland’s gambling legislation.
The Dáil described the interim steps as a way of encouraging the ‘better promotion of local gaming and lottery activity,’ with James Browne, Minister of State with special responsibility for gambling regulation, welcoming the move towards ‘modern, sensible and effective’ regulations.
The minister said: “Gambling is a large and evolving industry. It must be the subject of a modern, sensible and effective licensing and regulatory approach. My Department is now engaged in the drafting of a general scheme of a new Bill to provide for that comprehensive reform.
“I was also pleased to secure ‘seed funding’ of €200,000 for the new regulator as part of the justice allocation in Budget 2021.”
The 2019 Act will concentrate on streamlining the application process for lottery and gambling licences, as well as the smaller-scale gaming and lottery operation application process.
Furthermore, for all legal gambling items, the act imposes a minimum age of 18 years, standardising different steps from around the betting, gaming and lottery industries.
Despite the government’s plans to modernise Ireland’s gambling laws, there are still crucial concerns about how the government can set up key gambling control bodies and allocate money to fund health and treatment programmes to prevent gambling problems.
Since 2008, amid bipartisan support, successive governments have been criticised for their failure to amend national legislation, with Ireland becoming the only EU member state to have no digital regulatory system for online gambling.
In 2013, the Department of Justice of Ireland requested that the government of Enda Kenny immediately amend the gambling controls of the country, as Irish courts do not convict online gambling criminal offences under laws developed during the 1950s.
The ‘full backing’ of the industry was earned last year by the Irish government’s plans to create an independent gambling regulator to oversee the licencing of all gambling operators.
The establishment of an Irish gaming regulator, however has been postponed until at least 2021′ following the disturbances caused by the pandemic.