The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has welcomed the Irish government’s proposals to establish a regulatory authority and a national self-exclusion register for gambling.
On October 21, Ireland’s Minister of State for Law Reform, Youth Justice and Immigration, James Browne TD, published the General Scheme of the Gambling Regulation Bill which aims to modernise and reform the regulation of gambling, including online gambling in Ireland.
The proposals will now be submitted for drafting to the country’s Office of Parliamentary Counsel and will also be referred to the Oireachtas Justice Committee for pre-legislative scrutiny, with the accompanying legislative process expected to take at least 12 months to finalise.
EGBA welcomed the publication of the proposals and the progress made in establishing dedicated regulations for online gambling in the country, but expressed concerns about recent media reports that the Irish Government may introduce a blanket ban on free bets.
EGBA said that such a ban could nudge gamblers who regularly use free bets, or bonuses, to seek these with the many gambling websites, including those in the black market, which operate outside of the scope of Irish gambling regulation.
“We welcome the Irish government’s publication of the General Scheme of the Gambling Regulation Bill. This is an important milestone, and it provides companies, including our own members, with some certainty as to the direction of travel of the legislation. The EGBA looks forward to engaging with Minister Browne and his team to share our experiences from other European jurisdictions. With Ireland one of the two remaining countries in Europe which has no dedicated regulation of online gambling, this is an important opportunity to shape an Irish online gambling market which is well-regulated, meets the consumers’ needs and expectations, and sets a high level of consumer protection,” Maarten Haijer, Secretary-General of EGBA, said.