IMGL Magazine April 2022

Ireland market reform

Gambling regulation in Ireland After several false dawns, Katie O’Connor and Joe Kelly look forward as Ireland’s long-awaited

regulatory reform edges closer to the finish line. I reland is on the cusp of much anticipated reform of its legal and regulatory framework for gambling. After several stop-start attempts over the last decade, tangible progress is finally being made. Following the publication of the ‘General Scheme of the Gambling Regulation Bill’ in October 2021, it has been flagged by the Irish government as ‘priority’ legislation, with a target enactment date of Q4 2022. Meanwhile, preliminary work is underway to establish a new independent gambling regulatory authority, to be known as the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland, with applications for the role of CEO of the new body having recently closed. With strong signals that the new regulatory regime may come into effect as early as 2023, we discuss what’s coming down the tracks as Ireland moves towards becoming a fully regulated jurisdiction for gaming, betting and lottery operators, as well as B2B providers.

Drivers for reform While there have been some piecemeal reforms of Irish gambling laws over the years, including the introduction of a licensing regime for remote betting operators in 2015, and new categories of lottery licenses in 2020, there is broad political consensus that wholesale reform is required. There have been several attempts over the last decade to get reforms over the line – including, for example, the publication of a General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill in 2013. However, there now seems to be a greater impetus and political appetite to achieve progress. These have been largely driven by the Minister of State for Law Reform, James Browne TD, who has been vocal in the last 18 months about the immediate need to reform “analogue laws” to suit the new digital world of gambling. In a press interview in March 2021, Minister Browne outlined this strategy for gambling law reform, including in particular the

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