Ireland approves gambling bill introducing ad restrictions, self-exclusion and credit card ban
The government of Ireland has approved the publication of its Gambling Regulatory Bill, which introduces a series of restrictions and consumer protection measures for the country’s gambling sector.
Ireland is coming to the end of a years-long process to introduce a new regulator for the sector, the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland (GRAI), in order to enforce new rules aimed at bringing industry supervision up to date.Among the new rules set to be introduced, a ban on all gambling advertising between the hours of 5:30am and 9pm aims to protect children and young people from exposure to gambling, while advertising specifically targeting such people will also be prohibited.
Advertising gambling on social media will be “prohibited by default,” said Minister of State for Law Reform James Browne, while the bill will also establish a National Gambling Exclusion Register.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin: “This long awaited and much needed Bill takes a responsible approach to balancing the freedom to gamble with the safeguards to protect people from falling prey to addiction.”
As in the UK, a ban on the use of credit cards for betting will also be introduced, while the placement of ATMs in certain areas in the land-based sector will also be put under the microscope.
Anyone found to be operating gambling services without a licence could face a prison sentence of up to eight years, while a Social Impact Fund will be established for financing research and supporting treatment of gambling problems.
“This approval by Cabinet is significant and the publication of the Bill is unquestionably a major milestone,” said Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Ireland’s head of government.“It is an important and necessary piece of legislation, designed to meet the challenges of gambling responsibly in 21st century Ireland. This long awaited and much needed Bill takes a responsible approach to balancing the freedom to gamble with the safeguards to protect people from falling prey to addiction.”
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee: “The Bill will ensure that the Gambling Regulatory Authority can appropriately, meaningfully and swiftly respond to ongoing and future developments in the gambling sector. The focus on preventing harm is of vital importance.”
Ireland’s Minister for Justice Helen McEntee added: “At the heart of the Bill is the establishment of the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland, an independent body equipped to enforce regulation of the gambling sector.“The Bill will ensure that the Gambling Regulatory Authority can appropriately, meaningfully and swiftly respond to ongoing and future developments in the gambling sector. The focus on preventing harm is of vital importance.
“As a former Minister of Mental Health and as a local representative, I have seen the damaging impact gambling addiction can have on people and families, particularly on their mental health.”
The GRAI is expected to be established and operational by 2023. In September, senior civil servant Anne Marie Caulfield was named as the CEO designate of the soon-to-be established regulator.
The appointment of a CEO designate before the GRAI’s regulatory authority had been established in law was intended to minimise the time between the enacting of such laws and the date when the regulator can begin work.