Ireland to create an independent gambling regulator

The government of Ireland has published a report calling for the introduction of an independent regulator for the gambling industry.

Mosaic of Ireland

The government aims to have the regulator up and running within 18 months. © Pixabay.

The report was published by the Inter-Departmental Working Group on the Future Licensing and Regulation of Gambling in Ireland and is aimed at reforming the industry in Ireland. Officials hope the new regulator could be established within 18 months. The report also proposes reform of the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019.

The report centres around the creation of an independent body to regulate the industry in Ireland. This notion is nothing new. An independent regulator was first suggested in Ireland’s Gambling Control Bill in 2013.

Progress with that legislation has been famously slow, and the idea was then repeated last year when the bill was brought back to the table. A review into legislation governing the industry actually began in 2008.

The body is to be funded via fees and levies, as explained by David Stanton TD, Minister of State:

It will require resources. However, the ultimate aim is that the regulatory authority will be self-financing through fees and levies imposed on licensed gambling operators.David Stanton TD, Irish Minister of State

The proposals state that the levies will be collected into a social fund to be used for research and problem-gambling treatment campaigns. Just how much and how regular these levies will be has not yet been specified.

The industry has mostly welcomed the introduction of an independent regulator and reform to the industry, apart from the recently imposed tax hikes.

However, many consider the 18 month target for the implementation of the body ambitious at best. Legislation will have to pass through government, and the best model for the body established. Some experts are predicting 2021 as a more likely date we will see the regulator set up.

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