EGBA Releases Statement Welcoming The Publication Of Ireland's Gambling Regulation Bill

EGBA Releases Statement Welcoming The Publication Of Ireland's Gambling Regulation Bill

The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has shared a statement welcoming the publication of Ireland’s Gambling Regulation Bill. The trade association, which represents Europe’s leading online gambling operators, called the publication “a significant milestone in the Irish government’s efforts to modernize the country’s gambling regulations and to bring its regulatory framework into line with EU member states.”

The long-anticipated Gambling Regulation Bill has now been published by the Irish Parliament. The legislation proposes new regulations for land-based and online gambling in Ireland, including the creation of a new authority to regulate gambling, a social fund to support education and problem gambling treatment, a national self-exclusion register for online gambling, new rules for gambling advertisements, and a ban on the use of credit cards for gambling payments.

The Bill will now follow the Parliamentary process, with the first reading expected in early 2023. Subject to Parliamentary approval, the Bill is expected to become law in late 2023. The move was welcomed by the EGBA, which praised the proposal to establish a gambling authority and “fully supports” the creation of a self-exclusion register, which the association had previously advocated for as it sees it as “an essential safety net” against gambling harm.

The EGBA said it hopes the new gambling authority will be well-resourced, has the necessary powers to tackle unlicensed gambling offers, and maintains an open dialogue with the country’s licensed operators, other regulators and stakeholders to identify best practices. The association further stated its members are committed to promoting safer gambling in Ireland and elsewhere, having invested heavily “in a strong culture of safer gambling.”

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

“We look forward to the finalization 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,” Haijer added.

In accordance with the bill, Irish gambling will be overseen by the newly-formed government agency Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA). The body will be led by Anne Marie Caulfield, who will act as its first Chief Executive. Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said last month the bill will ensure that the GRA can respond swiftly to ongoing and future developments in the gambling sector, and that focus on preventing harm will be of vital importance.

The Irish gambling laws’ reform has been awaited for more than a decade, with past governments criticized for their inability to reform legislation on the matter despite bi-partisan support. Up to this point, Ireland was the only EU member state with no regulatory framework for iGaming. In addition to EGBA, the move has received the support of both Paddy Power and BoyleSports, Ireland’s largest gambling operators.