Online Gambling in need of regulation in Ireland

Published by Daniel on August 5, 2019 in Industry News

Gambling Control BillWhen it comes to entertainment there are endless sources of enjoyment to indulge in.  

Online gambling seems to be amongst the most popular enjoyed by people across the globe.  

Ireland might be one of the smaller countries but when it comes to gambling it is counted as one of the biggest.

A little history 

Gambling is one of the most popular pastimes in Ireland which is why the country is considered one of the biggest gambling nations in the world.  

Currently, over 6,000 residents work in betting shops and another 1,000 are working with online operators in the region. Horse racing is a strong favourite in the nation and betting shops are open around the clock with bookmakers having a number of fixed-odd betting terminals available.  

The Gambling Control Bill 

It is no secret that Ireland has had a rather complicated relationship with its gambling industry over the past few decades. It has been reluctant to embrace change and all the laws regarding gambling are heavily outdated which is why the industry is currently undergoing such a transitional phase.  

Back in 2013, the Gambling Control Bill was floored in Dail Eireann and it is yet to become law. Many believe the bill to be a critical part of the country’s gambling legislation. The bill is expected to regulate the gambling industry in a similar way as in the UK and other countries. It will allow operators both online and offline to work together in a heavily regulated environment. According to news sources, there is also talks of a third-party regulator that will be employed to regulate Ireland’s gambling sector. To this date, however, no developments have been made.  

Change is needed 

With gambling being so popular in the country there is a dire need for further regulation as there is a growing number of problem gamblers. Currently, all operators can acquire a gambling license and offer their products to any Irish players including those suffering addiction.  

Problem Gambling is a massive issue that has affected many players and while some operators have taken steps to prevent and help others have dismissed it. Problem Gambling can be targeted in regulated markets hence why the Gambling Control Bill is needed in Ireland.  

The Gambling Control Bill has been favoured by many high profile politicians in the country including David Hickson, Sharon Byrne and Maureen O’Sullivan. These politicians believe the bill will help reduce problem gambling and other issues such as money laundering.  

It should also be noted that the current gambling laws have been unchanged since it was introduced back in the 1950s. While the laws have been unchanged the gambling industry has not only changed but evolved drastically since then.  

Online gambling was introduced only a few years ago and is currently one of the biggest sources of online entertainment. It is easily accessible and while it remains a source of entertainment it needs to be regulated.  

The Gambling Control Bill has not yet been implemented for a variety of reasons one of which is a lack of overall consensus within the gambling sector. Concreted evidence on problem gambling has been requested by the Department of Justice to help with the decision making the process.  

There is hope that the Gambling Control Bill gets approved and implemented to improve the regulation of gambling activities in Ireland this year.