Tuesday July 16,2013 : IRELAND DRAFT GAMBLING LEGISLATION PUBLISHED (Update)
Wide-sweeping changes proposed in Ireland's control of all forms of gambling
The Irish Government has approved the General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill 2013 proposed by Alan Shatter, Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence .
The drafting of the bill will now get underway and will focus on effectively modernising the regulation of the Irish gambling sector while introducing measures to protect vulnerable adults and young people.
Shatter said the bill presents a unique opportunity to update the law in this area and to provide for a comprehensive new licensing and regulatory framework for gambling. "I believe that this Bill will give Ireland a well regulated gambling system that will be recognised as such internationally," he said.
The draft bill proposes to:
- repeal and replace existing vehicles for the regulation of betting, gaming, bingo and lotteries, with the exception of the National Lottery;
- form a new executive agency that will act as both the licensing authority and regulator for the sector. This agency will be self-financing, derived from licence fees and other charges.
- extend the licencing regime to include online and electronic gambling;
- require operators offering gambling services across all platforms to be licenced under the Irish regulatory system.
- include arrangements to check on the suitability of all licensed operators, including close liaison with the Gardaí, checks on criminal records and arrangements for contacting regulators and law enforcement bodies abroad.
- require operators to maintain adequate financial reserves to cover customer entitlements.
- institute a range of new measures that include:
- The introduction of age restrictions; staff training; advertising, promotion and sponsorship controls; a new customer complaints procedure; the establishment of a new Social Gambling Fund for assistance in treatment services; and new procedures that will assist consumers seeking compensation from a licence holder.
- limit the number of casinos to 40 with each having no more than 15 tables.
- include a full ban on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals.
"I expect the gambling sector to commit itself in a meaningful way to the concept and practice of socially responsible gambling. I will accept nothing less than high quality services and I will make sure that all operators pay their share for the development of services needed by people for whom gambling has become a problem.
"Technological change more than any other factor has accounted for the expansion in gambling in recent years. I will ensure that the new law will have the flexibility necessary to deal with rapid and continuous innovation, in the public interest. The Bill will, for example, include powers to prohibit or restrict certain games or equipment if they are harmful, including devices and games that are not yet in use," Minister Shatter concluded.
The General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill 2013 can be found here: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/PR13000297