IMGL Magazine April 2022

Ireland market reform

appointment of a robust regulator who can take the lead on shaping Ireland’s regulatory framework to provide for early interventions to best ensure player safety. 1 What’s the current position? In broad terms, Ireland regulates three forms of gambling activity: betting, gaming and lotteries. Betting is addressed by the Betting Act, 1931 (as amended). The Gaming and Lotteries Act, 1956 (as amended) covers gaming and lotteries. There is also separate legislation regulating Ireland’s ‘National Lottery’, and ‘totalisator betting’. The regulation of betting has covered retail and remote activity since 2015, with 66 remote bookmakers listed on the register maintained by the Revenue Commissioners at the date of writing. However, there is not yet any licensing regime for online gaming or lotteries and the 1956 Act contains a number of broad prohibitions in this regard, although certain jurisdictional arguments can be advanced to call into question the application of these prohibitions to offshore operators.

• Prevent gambling from being a source or support to crime. While the legislation will outline the regulatory framework in broad brush detail, it is envisaged that a lot of the specifics will be determined by the Authority in regulatory codes. A comprehensive new licensing regime for all forms of gambling The Scheme provides for three broad types of license: • ‘Business to customer’ (B2C) licenses for in-person and remote gambling activities, with different categories of license to cover gaming, betting or lotteries; • Business to business’ (B2B) licenses for individuals and corporations who provide gambling products or related services (such as hardware, software or equipment) to Irish license holders wherever they are located; and • A specific category of license to regulate gambling activities for charitable and philanthropic purposes. Similar to the current system for remote betting operators, it is envisaged that all gambling operators offering their services to persons in Ireland will be required in future to hold a relevant Irish B2C license for the categories of gambling offered by them. The proposal to introduce B2B licensing is a new one, as these activities have not previously been specifically addressed in Irish gambling laws. While we will need to wait to see the Bill for further details on the scope of this licensing requirement, it would appear that a broad range of B2B providers will potentially be in scope. The Scheme currently provides that those who offer ‘gambling products or related services’ to Irish license holders (regardless of where they are located) will require a B2B license. It also envisages that persons or entities in Ireland who provide products or related services to parties outside of Ireland, will similarly require an Irish B2B license. The Scheme casts a wide net in terms of the ‘gambling products or related services’ which may need to be licensed and includes for example: • The supply and management of betting, lottery and gaming equipment; • The provision of support and maintenance which is indispensable to the provision of a game; • The supply and management of software; • The supply and management of hosting services to facilitate the provision of gambling;

The General Scheme of the Gambling Regulation Bill – key points

The much awaited outline draft legislation, referred to as the ‘General Scheme of the Gambling Regulation Bill’ (Scheme) was published on 21 October 2021. It takes into account expert recommendations, including an Inter-Departmental Working Group Report on future licensing and gambling regulation commissioned by the Government in 2019 which addressed issues such as regulatory approaches in other jurisdictions; the nature of gambling in Ireland; the impact of technology; and gambling related advertising. The Scheme sets out the proposed framework and legislative basis for the future regulation of all forms of gambling services in Ireland and provides for the establishment of the Gambling Regulatory Authority (Authority) of Ireland. Legislative objectives According to the Scheme, the Authority’s principal objectives will be to: • Ensure that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way for operators; • Require safeguards which address problem gambling, including powers in relation to advertising; and

1. Minister James Browne TD interviewed by Johnny Ward for The Currency - gambling-my-facebook-feed-is-full-of-gambling-ads-from-different-gambling-organisations/

IMGL Magazine • April 2022 • 19

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