The new Irish government has announced that they intend to proceed with Irish Fine Gael politician, Alan Shatter’s Gambling Control Bill which was first introduced in 2013. Any new legislation would repeal and replace all existing laws regarding gambling and sports betting in the country.
“It is the intention to proceed with the Gambling Control Bill legislation at the earliest feasible opportunity – and, in that light, it is expected that this will be given renewed consideration in the preparation of the next legislation program,” stated a spokesman for the Department of Justice.
“At the same time, and pending the bringing forward of the main Bill, the Department are to examine whether there are any individual pressing areas of concern, intended to be dealt with in the Bill, which could be dealt with sooner by separate legislative measures.”
The government plans to introduce a new agency to be both a licensor and regulator for the industry. The Bill proposes to ban fixed-odds betting terminals which have been found to be particularly addictive. It also plans to prevent the establishment of super-casinos with the number of tables in a casino limited to 15 and the number of gaming machines limited to 25. The Bill will also require gambling license holders to contribute to a levy that would finance a new social gaming fund to help treat gambling addicts.
The Irish Bookmakers Association welcomed the news, saying the bill would “provide a more level playing field across the entire gambling sector and ensure all operators from the broad spectrum of gambling sectors have clear legislative guidelines within which to operate and invest in their business.”
John Boyle, chief executive of BoyleSports also greeted the news well saying the Bill would replace archaic and ineffective laws.