IRISH GAMBLING REGULATION REMAINS IN LIMBO
Three years on, and little progress, says independent Irish politician.
Independent member of the Irish Dáil (parliament) Maureen OSullivan, took the government to task this week over the lack of clarity and progress on Irish gambling laws three years after the Gambling Control Bill was passed.
Warning on the potential for criminal involvement, problem gambling and money laundering, OSullivan alleged that there were no appropriate powers of enforcement because the legalization was outdated “and virtually unenforceable”.
They were particularly deficient because they did not take account of the rise of online and mobile-based forms of gambling, she asserted.
“The industry has licensed bookmakers and online betting licenses but there are private members’ clubs and casinos, some regulated and some not, gaming arcades, some licensed and some not, and gaming and amusement machines, some licensed and some not,” she said, estimating that up to Euro 5 billion is spent on gambling every year in Ireland.
“The general scheme was published in July 2013 and pre-legislative scrutiny was conducted in November 2013 but there has been nothing since," she said.
OSullivan warned that the Financial Action Task Force, an international agency to combat money laundering was undertaking an evaluation of Ireland and is expected to be critical of existing AML laws.
Responding, the Minister of Justice acknowledged that the scheme for the Bill was “published some years ago” and said that Minister of State David Stanton “is prioritizing it in his work”.
She said the scheme of the Bill that was published suggested a need for further research, and revealed that Minister Stanton has asked the Department of Justice to examine if there were particular issues that could be brought forward more quickly.
“He has had consultations with the stakeholders in the area and is continuing those,” the minister said, claiming that the minister of state has been working on it quite intensively and “intends to move forward as quickly as possible with the appropriate legalization”.
All of which sounds like more stone-walling.