IMGL Magazine April 2022

Ireland market reform

New dedicated regulator: The Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland The new licensing and regulatory regime as outlined above will be administered, supervised and enforced by the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland, which will be a newly established independent regulator. It will operate under the policy aegis of the Department of Justice. As noted above, work is already underway to recruit the CEO of this new regulatory body, so that it can be established and brought into operation in parallel with the publication of the Bill and its progression to enactment. A dedicated sum of €500,000 was also set aside in last year’s budget to support the establishment of the Authority. The Authority is being mooted as one of a number of new “digital regulators” in Ireland. It has been referenced by the Minister for Tourism & Media in press releases relating to the creation of a new ‘Online Safety Commissioner’, where she

VIP or preferential treatment; and • The establishment of a Social Impact Fund to fund services to treat problem and gambling addiction and to fund research, training, community interventions into treatment of gambling addiction including, supporting public education and awareness programmes. It is worth noting that while Irish law does not currently set out any specific obligations as regards player safety measures, the Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA), (the Irish voluntary representative body for retail betting operators), has recently taken steps to address this regulatory gap as regards its members ahead of a Gambling Bill being passed into law. The “Safer Gambling Code”, which was introduced by the IBA in September 2021, (although members were given until December 2021 to make any necessary technical or contractual changes to fully implement it), has had a very significant uptake from IBA members. As well as dealing with age checks, time outs and self- exclusion, the measures provided for in the IBA Code include a prohibition on credit card payments and whistle- to-whistle advertising bans. Introduction of new rules on advertising and sponsorship The Scheme also provides for a range of measures in respect of gambling-related advertising and sponsorship. In particular, the Authority will be empowered to develop codes regulating gambling-related advertising and sponsorship. These codes may potentially restrict or prohibit: • The times of day during which gambling-related advertisements may play on radio, tv, video sharing platforms etc.; • The volume and frequency of gambling advertising during sporting events; • The use of children, images that appeal to children, animated characters or well-known figures, in gambling- related advertisements. They may also give customers the option to opt out of advertising relating to gambling generally, the license holder or any regulated game, service or activity. Any codes relating to advertising are also likely to include an obligation on operators to ensure all communications contain responsible gambling messages and information about problem gambling helplines. The Scheme also provides for separate measures regarding the events at which sponsorship can be displayed, with restrictions on sponsorship of events where children are the target audience or where the playing field or venue is accessible to children.

described the creation of the

gambling regulator as a “vital part of a new network of digital regulators both across the EU and in Ireland .” 2

2 Press Release by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media dated 12 January 2022 on the Online Safety and

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