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Effective gambling regulation finally on the cards for Ireland

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The General Scheme published on 21 October 2021 means Irish gamblers can now look forward to a safer online gambling experience.


James Browne TD, the Minister of State for Law Reform in Ireland, published the “General Scheme of the Gambling Regulation Bill”, also referred to as the “General Scheme”, on the 21st of October 2021. The gambling industry rapidly adopted an online platform model, which left Ireland’s outdated gambling regulations and enforcement wanting.

This scheme makes it possible for a new independent statutory body, the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland, to create new licencing and update its regulations and rules, and to implement and impose them in the fast-growing gambling industry.

An important milestone

Ireland gamblers spent more than €6.9 billion in 2014, and by 2018, it had grown to a whopping €8 billion spent on gambling alone. According to statistics, Ireland is the fourth largest gambling nation in the European Union and yet has no Gambling Commission.

Up to now, the legislation that was in place was outdated and not fit for the industry's rapidly growing needs. There were only two Acts that mainly regulated gambling:

  • The Betting Act of 1931
  • The Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1995

Minister Browne recently stated that the General Scheme marks “an important milestone towards the effective regulation of gambling in Ireland”. They made several reform efforts since 2008, but most of these had limited success, especially in the online gambling community.

The publication of the Gambling Control Bill 2013 and the Betting (Amendment) Act 2015 were only temporary solutions that were implemented in the interim. An urgent and regulated change was needed.

Benefits to Ireland gamblers

The Gambling Regulatory Authority will have the power to protect individuals online and in person, by regulating gambling services and all its activities. This will also apply to all advertising, apps and online casino websites. Gamblers are possible victims of crime, especially in online gambling, therefore it is imperative that they implement safeguards to protect them.

Irish gamblers can look forward to extensive legislation, better advertising guidelines, and more support for encouraging responsible gambling. Free gambling is to be banned and free bets will no longer be allowed. Enticing gamblers to “keep on gambling” will also soon be a thing of the past. Offering credit or loans to players to gamble with is strictly prohibited.

With the government publishing this Bill, it takes Ireland one step closer to developing and enforcing licensed casinos and regulatory measures for all gambling activities, advertisements and services. Ireland, being well behind the UK in terms of gambling laws, needed this long-awaited change and we celebrate this milestone with them.

Up next: Public safety is finally prioritised

The next step is for this Bill to be introduced and then passed into law. We expect this to be established and fully operating by 2023. James Browne is positive that the Gambling Regulator will safeguard the industry with strict licensing, steep fines and penalties that are to be implemented.

Consumers and businesses have long awaited the modernisation of gambling legislation in Ireland. With a startup budget of €700,000, the Irish government seems committed to prioritising their safety. The public’s safety and health will be the primary focus, so there are a lot of eyes on the regulators to implement this no-nonsense regulatory wisely.

Published: November 9, 2021

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Article by Stelly

CasinoWow Contributor

Hey there! I am Stelly, and happily, I'm part of CasinoWow's content team. It excites me to be able to write and share with all gambling enthusiasts unbiased reviews and news that contribute to the gambling community and industry. Thankfully, I also have the chance to help you make an informed choice for casino brands and games, as well as provide interesting guides and news.

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