The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) has welcomed new proposals in establishing dedicated regulations for online gambling in Ireland.
EGBA is especially behind the proposal to establish a regulatory authority for gambling and the ideals of a national self-exclusion register, to clamp down on gambling harm and allow anyone experiencing gambling harm to block themselves out of gambling websites.
James Browne TD, Ireland’s Minister of State for Law Reform, Youth Justice and Immigration, published the General Scheme of the Gambling Regulation Bill. The Bill aims to modernise the regulation of gambling, as well as online gambling in Ireland.
This comes after the Irish Government focused on improving the country’s regulation of online gambling. However, reports of a potential blanket ban on free bets have arisen, which is a concern for the industry.
An establishment is included in the proposals, forming an independent gambling authority to oversee the country’s gambling activities, including any advertising.
Such proposals will be submitted for drafting, subject to the Irish Office of Parliamentary Counsel. The process is expected to be completed within a minimum of 12 months.
EGBA is concerned about the circulating rumours of a blanket ban, fearing that a ban on free bets or bonuses could steer gamers away to alternative gambling websites; including those in the black markets, which would counteract the aim of the proposal entirely.
Maarten Haijer, EGBA Secretary-General, said: “We welcome the Irish Government’s publication of the General Scheme of the Gambling Regulation Bill. This is an important milestone, and it provides companies, including our own members, with some certainty as to the direction of travel of the legislation.
“EGBA looks forward to engaging with Minister Browne and his team to share our experiences from other European jurisdictions. With Ireland one of the two remaining countries in Europe which has no dedicated regulation of online gambling, this is an important opportunity to shape an Irish online gambling market that is well-regulated, meets the consumers’ needs and expectations, and sets a high level of consumer protection.”