Ireland: Gambling Control Bill 2013 approved

Hot on the heels of their Northern Ireland counterparts the Irish Government has proposed a number of reforms which suggests their liberalisation of gaming laws. Earlier today, Alan Shatter TD (Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence) announced that the Government has approved the General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill 2013. This Bill will abolish and replace all existing, often outdated, provisions for the regulation of betting, gaming, bingo and lotteries, with the one exception of the provisions relating to the National Lottery. The proposed legislation expressly seeks to regulate, really for the first time, online gambling services.

The Bill also appears to relax the laws surrounding casinos – removing the requirement that they only operate as part of private members clubs but also imposing various restrictions, such as a limit of 15 tables per casino and a totally of no more than 40 casinos in total. It seems then, the Government is taking a measured approach to liberalisation, with the simultaneous creation of a self-financing gambling commission, which will regulate and license the sector, while ensuring compliance with the laws. Minster Shatter was quoted as saying, “I am committed in particular to ensuring that there are effective and robust safeguards in place to protect young people and those [for] whom gambling has become a problem. The Bill introduces a range of new measures including the introduction of age restrictions; staff training; controls on advertising, promotions and sponsorship…”.