Irish Justice Department Gets Behind Gambling Reforms

Ireland continues to explore how to update its gambling laws and can now count on the full support of the Department of Justice (DOJ) when it’s ready. In its Justice Plan 2023, the department makes it clear that it will now back the government’s new gambling framework.

Department Of Justice And Law Reform Ireland Office
The entrance to the Department Of Justice And Law Reform Ireland Office. The government department is getting behind gambling reforms in the country. (Image: Irish Examiner)

The DOJ previously spoke out against some of the measures the legislation included. This past January, it expressed its concerns that some of the language was too subjective and would allow operators to bypass controls.

Lawmakers apparently listened and made some adjustments. The DOJ now hopes to help advance the bill through the Irish Parliament by offering its support.

Full Weight Of Justice

The DOJ has stated that it will extend all necessary administrative services to facilitate the establishment of a gambling regulator. The legislation and reform concerning gambling has been deemed a crucial component in the development of Ireland in the 21st century, according to previous comments by Minister of State James Browne. He added that this particular law, which he helped draft, is a top priority due to its significance and necessity in confronting the obstacles associated with gambling.

The establishment of a more effective regulatory and licensing setup for the Irish gambling industry will result from the new laws once they’re on the books. Ireland has already made progress toward that goal, establishing the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) last December. It also appointed Anne Marie Caulfield to lead the organization, subject to formal authorization.

The proposed legislation has been received positively by the gambling sector, although there are reservations about the vague wording pertaining to a ban on the advertising of all forms of gambling. The bill’s phrasing implies that any promotion, such as the distribution of complimentary wagers, may be completely forbidden.

Browne has denied the legislation goes to that extreme. He has explained that the bill doesn’t completely prohibit gambling advertisements or sponsorships, but only limits their presence.

Operators will have to ensure that consumers only receive them if they actively request them. This would only occur if a person has registered with these services and explicitly given their consent for such advertising.

In addition, the legislation puts a stop to gambling commercials on TV and radio from 5:30 AM until 9:00 PM. Moreover, the bill grants extensive authority to the GRA to determine where, when, how and how often operators can display physical and digital ads.

Sweeping Changes

Just like in the UK, it’s apparent that sweeping changes are coming to Ireland’s gambling ecosystem. The new legislative framework has already begun its journey through the political maze and has found growing support along the way.

As the legislation advances, it’s likely that lawmakers will incorporate additional changes. More political players will want to contribute to put their names in the books.

While the industry knows restrictions are coming, gaming companies are anxious to see what appears in the final version. The government’s goal is to have the legislation ready within the next few months.

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