Last week, a plan for the establishment of a new gambling regulatory authority was approved by the Irish Government, as such a step was recommended in the Gambling Control Bill 2018. However, it is yet unknown when the new gambling regulator is going to start operation, with some experts saying that it would probably not be around any time soon.
Gambling legislation and regulation does not seem to be a top priority for local lawmakers, especially considering the fact that the updated Gambling Control Bill has still not been officially into force. It had all started with a review of Ireland’s gambling legislation in 2008, followed by the Gambling Control Bill 2013, which on its turn became the basis for the Gambling Control Bill 2018.
In other words, more than a decade after the beginning of the Irish authorities’ first review of gambling legislation, the constantly growing gambling sector in the country still remains without proper regulation. According to the Prime Minister, the process of establishing a working regulator could take another year and a half. And the funny part is that such a period even seems optimistic provided the fact that the new gambling legislation will have to make its way through the legislature of Ireland.
Irish Gambling Legislation Needs and Update as Soon as Possible
The new gambling regulatory body would not be able to start operation until the best model or structure for the regulator’s office is not found. A research project on a modern regulatory environment is being prepared by the law firm McCann FitzGerald which was hired in December 2018 to do the job. The work on the research is set to be finalized by the middle of summer 2019.
Apart from that, there is the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019, under which gaming machines across the country are set to be regulated. The bill proposes a range of interim reforms to be made before any regulatory body is officially established. This could make some aspects of regulation quicker but the truth is that the whole process has taken too much time.
Probably one of the questions that most need answering is why proper gambling regulation is postponed for such a long time, considering the constantly rising gambling participation and problem gambling rates. Moreover, the largest betting operator in the country, Paddy Power Betfair, has already welcomed the idea of the establishment of a gambling regulatory body.
The truth is that Ireland needs both more up-to-date legislation and regulation, and it needs it as soon as possible. Betting licence application in the country is carried out under the provisions of 1931 and 1956 legislation. However, there has been much development in the sector since the time when these pieces of legislation have been passed. Online gambling has appeared, as well as some other forms of gambling, which needs to get proper regulation soon.