Leading up to Ireland’s general election on February 8, some of the major political parties in the country have pledged to make a variety of changes to the gambling industry in the country.
Publishing its manifesto, governing party Fine Gael has committed to establishing an independent gambling regulator to address problem gambling issues.
The Manifesto read: “We will introduce an independent gambling regulator to ensure that abuses are eradicated and public safety is protected. We will emulate best practice in the design of the new regulatory body and ensure that it is equipped to respond to a rapidly evolving gambling environment.
“We will review the controls that exist in relation to access to, and the behaviour of, gambling apps and websites; and, if the existing controls are not sufficient to prevent underage or vulnerable people from gambling, we will mandate the regulator to put strict controls in place.”
The group, which is also projected to have the second highest number of seats in the Dáil, has vowed to “increase awareness of the range of interventions for the treatment of gambling, providing access to assessment and individual counselling services”.
In their manifesto, Fianna Fáil has also vowed to create an independent regulator as part of its “safe and socially responsible gambling” policies.
“Fianna Fáil is committed to implementing regulation for socially responsible gambling,” the party manifesto said. “This means setting out clear regulations to prevent the sector doing harm.”
In addition to setting up an independent regulator, Fianna Fáil – expected to win most seats in the Dáil – promised to introduce age restrictions, gambling limits, cooling off periods, and a ban on credit card gambling.
“Limits to the amounts available and strict cooling-off periods will help prevent serial gambling abuse,” the party said.
“Fianna Fáil is committed to implementing regulation for socially responsible gambling. This means setting out clear regulations to prevent the sector doing harm. After a decade of delay Fine Gael has no credibility on this serious problem that is silently destroying lives.
“We need effective regulation for this industry to give those who work in the sector certainty through socially responsible gambling. We are committed to working with the industry to build this new framework but the time for delays has long since passed. Legislative action is now needed.”
A ban on credit card gambling, a whistle-to-whistle ban on gambling ads during live sporting events,’ strict controls’ on gambling advertisements and an end to loot box gambling would help the implementation of’ cooling off periods’.
Sinn Fein, which currently holds third place in the polls, has not issued their manifesto to the public yet.