EGBA view on Ireland legislation

EGBA: Ireland legislation bringing country in line with fellow EU states

Ireland’s Gambling Regulation Bill has been welcomed by the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) as a ‘significant milestone’.

The Bill was approved last month by the Irish cabinet, which is led by a tri-party coalition, having been drafted by Minister of State for Justice James Browne.

Praising the legislation, EGBA has stated that the Bill will modernise Ireland’s gambling framework and bring the country in line with the regulatory regimes of other EU member states. 

“Today is a significant milestone, and we congratulate Minister Browne and his team for bringing forward the Bill,” said Maarten Haijer, EGBA Secretary General.

Maarten Haijer EGBA
Maarten Haijer

“EGBA fully supports the Irish government’s ongoing efforts to establish modern regulations that fit the digital age and bring the country’s regulatory framework into line with EU member states.”

Specifics of the legislation include the creation of a central gambling regulator, the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA), which has been highlighted as a particularly positive development by EGBA. 

The authority is expected to commence regulatory oversight in 2023, shortly after the Bill comes into force pending parliamentary approval, under the leadership of Anne Marie Caulfield as Chief Executive.

Powers held by the regulator include the ability to counter unlicensed operators and creation of a national gambling self-exclusion scheme, something EGBA also highlighted as an ‘essential safety net against gambling harm’.

Haijer concluded: “We look forward to the finalisation of the Bill and engaging constructively with Irish policymakers to ensure the outcome is a well-functioning system of regulation that protects the interests of the many Irish citizens who gamble safely and recreationally, sets a high level of protection for consumers and those experiencing gambling-related harm, and provides clarity and long-term predictability for the gambling sector.”

Additional areas of focus in the new legislation include payments – credit cards are being banned as a transaction method – and harm treatment, with a ‘Social Impact Fund’ set to be established to fund such programmes via a mandatory industry contribution.

Industry stakeholders have also been receptive to the legislative upgrade, with Ian Proctor, Chairman of Flutter UK and Ireland, describing the Bill and forthcoming regulator as a ‘critical milestone’ for Irish betting.

“We look forward to assessing the detailed terms of the Bill when published, and working constructively with the new Authority to put in place effective measures,” he said. 

“These should protect those that may be vulnerable to experiencing harm, while allowing the vast majority of our customers who enjoy gambling safely to do so.”

However, whilst Irish politicians, EGBA and industry figures are supportive of the Bill, it still requires parliamentary approval it is still subject to parliamentary approval.

The first reading of the Bill in the Dáil Éireann – the lower house of the Irish parliament, the Oireachtas – is scheduled in early 2203. If approved by legislators, the Bill will become law in late 2023.

SBC News EGBA: Ireland legislation bringing country in line with fellow EU states

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