Ireland takes on temporary Gaming and Lotteries Act ahead of wholesale 2021 reforms
Ireland passed the ‘interim Gaming and Lotteries Act’, which will be the start of a planned reform of the country’s gambling laws in 2021.
The revamp of Ireland’s gambling legislation will be providing a highly-anticipated modernization of existing legislation for the sector, dating back to 1931 and 1956, updating codes and standards for the digital age and modern consumer. The interim measures have been described by the Dáil as a way of supporting the ‘better promotion of local gaming and lottery activity’, with James Browne – minister of state with special responsibility for gambling regulation – applauding the step 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 mainly be focused on simplifying the application process for lottery and gambling permits and that for smaller-scale gaming and lottery activity. Furthermore, the act displayed a minimum age of 18 years for all licensed gambling products, regulating various measures from all across the betting, gaming and lottery industries.
This news, however, was met with a lot of worry and concern. Since 2008, consecutive governments have been criticized for their inability to reform the country’s laws despite bi-partisan support, rendering Ireland the only EU member maintaining no digital regulatory frameworks for online gambling.
In 2013, Ireland’s Department of Justice demanded that the Enda Kenny’s government needed to imperatively adjust the nation’s gambling controls, seeing as Irish courts could not technically convict criminal offences related to online gambling under laws established during the 1950s.
Last year, the Irish government’s proposals to establish an independent gambling regulator that will supervise the licencing of all gambling operators was met with the ‘full backing’ of the industry.
Still, after the disturbance caused by the pandemic, the creation of an Irish gambling regulator has been delayed until ‘at least 2021’.