Report: Ireland’s Justice Ministry rejects affordability measures

Report: Irish Justice Department rejects affordability measures

Irish media has reported that the country’s Department of Justice has turned down parliamentary suggestions for enhanced affordability background checks. 

A report in the Irish Examiner over the New Year weekend outlined that two recommendations by the Oireachtas Justice Committee had been rejected by the Department. 

These included a proposal for financial background checks to be conducted when a customer sets up a betting and gaming account, which was criticised as ‘impractical’.

“It is not considered appropriate to implement this recommendation given the data protection concerns in allowing gambling companies to conduct their own analysis into a person’s private financial affairs,” a statement from the Department, shared in the Examiner, explained.

The Department added that Ireland lacks the “culture of credit rating agencies or companies” necessary to accurately determine the extent of an individual consumer’s financial vulnerability. 

Additionally, an additional recommendation that operators should be liable to the dependents and creditors for losses, specifically when companies were aware of a person’s financial situation, was also shut down. 

The Examiner added that the development has been met with disappointment by reform advocates such as Barry Grant of Extern Problem Gambling, who argued that a third-party system could be developed to make up for Ireland’s aligned lack of credit rating agencies.

Ireland is currently in the process of implementing its most extensive gambling reforms in several decades, as the Gambling Regulation Bill was approved and published by the government in November 2022.

Drafted by Justice Minister James Browne, the legislation’s most notable update will be the creation of a new Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA), set to be led by Anne Marie Caufield and commence operations later this year. 

The regulatory scope of the new authority has previously been described by Browne as ‘extremely powerful’, and will manage an industry-financed Social Impact Fund and a national self-exclusion scheme.

Although some reforms such as Grant may have expressed disappointment at the cabinet’s decisions, the Bill has been broadly welcomed by industry stakeholders, including Flutter Entertainment UK and Ireland Chairman Ian Proctor.

Meanwhile, the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has also praised the development as bringing the Republic of Ireland’s legislative framework on gambling in line with those of other EU states.

SBC News Report: Irish Justice Department rejects affordability measures

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