Online Gambling to be Regulated in Ireland?

Irish Justice Minister releases future gambling regulation options

A statement regarding gambling regulation options approved by the Irish Government was released on Dec. 22 by the country’s Justice Minister, Dermot Ahern. In the statement, he said: "Our existing laws regulating gambling are not fit for purpose in this age of mass global communications. I am publishing these options so as to provide choices to be made to properly regulate the gambling landscape.

"Today’s initiative is, therefore, a major step on the road towards developing a new fully regulated environment for the sector, reflecting 21st century thinking in this area of complex public policy."

According to Ahern, the "Options for Regulating Gambling" paper states the following crucial objectives:

- that young people and the vulnerable are protected;

- that gambling should, in all respects, be fairly and openly conducted;

- that gambling is kept free of crime.

Apart from the above mentioned, it is also specified:

- the proposed introduction of a unified regulator for gambling to be the Department of Justice and Law Reform. The proposed options, as well as offering protection of minors and vulnerable persons would provide for remote gambling i.e. gambling via telephone, mobile phones, internet and interactive TV.

- exploring provision for regulating casino gaming under licence. Private Members' Clubs at which gambling activities are carried on could be obliged to apply for authorisation as registered casinos. Failure to do so would result in closure and prosecution for illegal gambling. It is envisaged that no existing facility that is in breach of the law, or which exploits weaknesses in current law could expect an automatic right to a licence.

- that the role of local authorities in relation to gambling in their areas could be revised so that it is discharged largely through the planning process and a licensing arrangement for gambling premises. In other words, local authorities would exercise both authority and responsibility in relation to gambling in their areas.

- a range of penalties for non-compliance with provisions ranging from administrative-type penalties to criminal law breaches.

In addition, he stated that any gambling legislation resulting from the Options for Regulating Gambling “should aim to regulate better and not to deregulate; should aim to regulate strictly where that is required, and to make gambling in all respects unlawful unless provided for by statute; it should proactively promote player protection and protection of minors; and should tackle the challenges and opportunities posed by gambling via the internet.”

For full statement, visit: http://www.justice.ie/en/JELR/Pages/Ahern%20publishes%20Options%20for%20Regulating%20Gambling

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