Irish Minister Expands On Gambling Law Reform

Minister David Stanton details changes ahead for online and land gambling companies

Perhaps stung into an explanation for delays in the reform of Irish gambling laws outlined in recent media reports, Ireland’s Minister of State at the Department of Justice, David Stanton, appeared on a local television current affairs program this weekend to outline progress.

In summary, Stanton revealed:

* Government hopes to have the 2013 legislation enacted and ready for implementation by the end of 2018;

* The government has moved away from the idea of oversight by a department in the Justice Department and will instead seek to establish an independent statutory regulatory authority that will also be charged with vetting and licensing, along with wide powers to enter licensed operator premises and inspect documentation and computer contents;

* The government has no problem with the regulator adopting “secret shopper” tactics as part of its mandate to control and regulate gambling in the Republic in order to safeguard consumers and ensure the safety of minors and problem gamblers;

* A special levy will be imposed on land and online gambling operators in order to fund a Social Gambling body charged with research into problem gambling and the treatment of compulsive gamblers. The details of this levy have still to be finalised;

* Technology advances have persuaded the government to review its original plans to limit the the number of casino licenses to 40 and to cap the number of tables in any one casino at 15. The minister revealed that a working group is studying this aspect and is due to report back to government before the summer recess;

* The legislation will impose limitations on the promotion and advertising of gambling, especially with regard to young people. The minister acknowledged that there are some challenges in this area as many TV channels providing gambling services were beamed into Ireland from overseas;

* It may be difficult to ban gambling operators from engaging in sports sponsorship as many clubs rely on this source for funding.