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UK – Ireland aiming to have new regulator in place by 2023

By - 25 October 2021

Having signed off approvals for a new regulator in 2019, Ireland’s government wants to have a new national gambling regulator up and running by 2023 charged with licensing and regulating online and land-based operators.

The regulator will have the right to fine any individual illegally operating betting or gaming as much as €20m with companies facing fines of up to 10 per cent of turnover.

James Browne, Minister of State for Law Reform, Youth Justice and Immigration, said: “The publication of the General Scheme is an important milestone towards the effective regulation of gambling in Ireland under the new, independent statutory body – the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland. The Scheme sets out the framework and legislative basis for how we will do this.”

“We all accept that the current legislative framework is fragmented, outdated, lacks a coherent licensing and regulatory approach, and is in need of significant reform. Now is the time to finally address this issue comprehensively, once and for all,” he added. “I believe that the legislative underpinning of this new Authority will be essential to its success and I am committed to taking this forward. There will be opportunities for further stakeholder engagement and input as part of the pre-legislative scrutiny process.”

Free bets will also be banned, along with attempts to convince a player to keep gambling, or offering credit or a loan.

The regulator will also have the option to block remote or online access to a provider’s service in the country, or completely shut down certain operations. The regulator will too be able to block or freeze bank accounts, assets and payments.

Operators must clearly display terms and conditions – including applicable odds on offer for events – to both online and in-person players. Breaching player protection measures could lead operators to be fined or have their license revoked.

A new code on gambling advertising will set out the times and frequency at which gambling ads can appear on television, radio and other media platforms each day.

The regulator will also implement features to tackle money laundering, having the power to investigate suspicious activity, instigating prosecutions and imposing sanctions. I will also maintain a register of all licensed gambling operators.

The bill will now be sent to the Office of Parliamentary Counsel for drafting, and to the Oireachtas Justice Committee for review. A CEO will lead the new authority, a role which is set to be filled by Christmas or early next year.

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