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Irish gambling regulator expected in late 2020

Tue, Mar 26, 2:31pm by Staff Writer

A new centralised Irish gambling regulator has begun to take shape, but won’t be up and running until late 2020 at the earliest, according to Casino Betting News.

Officials have confirmed that the regulator will need as many as 18 months to start functioning as it needs legislative approvals before it can issue gambling licenses and permits in the country.

The legislation will also give it powers to impose fines and manage the expanding online gambling industry.

Betting companies are currently receiving their license from the Revenue Commissioners in Ireland as there is no independent body looking after consumer protection measures and provide industry oversight in the country.

A new government study suggests that the new Irish regulator will be similar to the UK Gambling Commission, which regulates the UK National Lottery in Great Britain alongside licensing authorities while regulating commercial gambling activities.

The Minister of State in Ireland David Stanton made the announcement about the regulator last week, stating that gambling should be a “safe, fair and entertaining activity for the majority of those who choose to take part.”

Mr Stanton is also seeking player protections while limiting the harmful effects of gambling on young people who are prone to addiction.

The Inter-Departmental Working Group on the Future Licensing and Regulation of Gambling released a series of Cabinet-approved recommendations for the new regulator recently.

They seek to change the current regulations which are based on the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956 and other regulations passed in 2013.

None of the existing rules accommodate recent changes in gambling technology and the rise of online gambling.

Recommendations for new rules include restricting the minimum gambling age to 18 years.

Restrictions will also apply to online gaming

These restrictions can also apply to online play-for-free games, which are popular among teenagers.

Gambling offers and ads will not be directed at those under 18 years.

For these policies to work though, verification systems would need to be effective.

The Irish Cabinet has approved the publishing of the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019, which will introduce new stake and prize limits, make 18 years the minimum age of participation and creates new rules for the application of licenses and permits.

These recommendations follow a Department of Health survey that suggested that one in 10 of Ireland’s 15 to 17 year olds gambled illegally in the past 12 months.

One of the key recommendations of a working group’s report is for the new regulating body to address the integrity of Irish sports events.

There has been great concern, according to Gambling and the Law about the possibility of “match fixing” and the new regulatory body should have a unit specifically assigned to address this.

The new body will be responsible for the issuance of all permits and licenses for all categories of gaming including lotteries, sports betting, gaming machines, casinos and online gambling.

The regulatory body is also expected to come out with a new code governing gambling advertisements, sponsorships and promotions.

The new regulator will oversee both land and online gambling. It will also enforce compliance and conduct on-site inspections.

Licensed operators will have to pay a fee which will contribute to a fund that pays for the operations of the regulator.

Other recommendations include protections for at-risk problem gamblers and the creation of a sports betting integrity unit.

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