The aim of the Irish authorities to revamp the nation’s system of gambling regulation have suffered a setback with the news that a key part of the regulatory framework will be delayed.
Helen McEntee, the Minister for Justice, has announced that the new gambling regulator will not be set up until 2021 at the earliest. The launch of the new regulator was a key part of Ireland’s Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019. The bill was signed into law in December 2019 and includes various new rules for the Irish gambling industry, including limits on gaming machine stakes and prizes. At the time of the bill’s initial consideration, back in May 2019, the Irish Minister of State David Stanton said that the regulator should ideally be in place within 18 months.
However, McEntee revealed, in a written response to a question from TD Padraig O’Sullivan, that although the Justice Department is working on its creation, she was not prepared to bring forward proposals that would establish the regulator before 2021.
“Work is currently underway in my department on the development of the legislation to provide for the necessary modern licensing and regulatory provisions for the Irish gambling industry. I hope to bring proposals in that regard to the Government next year.”
McEntee added that the government had set forward a clear commitment to set up a gambling regulator that was fully focused on public safety and wellbeing, and that would cover gambling online and in person. It would also have the power to regulate gambling websites, apps and advertising. She explained that the delay was due to the government wanting to sure that the regulator was properly equipped to deal with the challenges presented by the Irish gambling industry. In particular, she said that it was important that the regulator was firmly established and properly resourced so that it would be able to properly regulate an industry that had become complex and technologically advanced.