News of Ireland introducing new gambling license rules is being welcomed by the government. Reform for the entire gambling industry both online and offline has been on the Irish government’s agenda for some time now, and after the latest cabinet meeting a target for summer 2021 is being touted around, but no one has set a firm date.
Firstly, the Irish government will need to form a regulatory department specifically for the purpose of gambling. This could cost the government in the region of €10 million or more. The government will foot the bill to set up the regulatory authority according to the Minister for Law Reform at the Department of Justice, who is currently James Browne.
However, once the gambling licensing authority is operational, the running costs will be the responsibility of the online casinos that want to operate in the region. Quite how this will work is not yet known, but there will likely be initial administrative fees for license approval, and thereafter, a yearly fee to renew the license.
If the new Irish gambling authority acts as strongly as its neighbouring UKGC licensing authority, part of the funding will come from investigative teams looking for breaches of the license’s terms and conditions, which as in the UKGC leads to hefty fines.
Irish Gambling Regulatory Goals are Clear!
A lack of tax revenue coupled with mounting pressures from social groups to take domestic control of online gambling regulations is plenty of reason for the Irish government to approve the inauguration of a gambling authority.
The goal is to protect players and reduce funding pressures on government organisations in place to help problem gamblers. Some areas that the new licensing regulations will cover improved age verification, deposit caps, gambling advertising restrictions, and the use of software that helps online gamblers self-exclude themselves, monitor the time they play, set deposit limits, max stake limits, and more.
However, it is not clear whether the government is looking to increase its tax revenue from these casinos or set up operations that achieve the goal to create a more responsible and streamline gambling industry with no expense to the Irish taxpayer. It is hard to agree with those that believe a licensing authority will help to not only grow the gambling industry in Ireland but do so responsibly by taking control of regulations domestically. Until now, Irish online casino players connect to offshore casinos in Europe. These casinos run their operations under remote gambling licenses issued by the Malta Gaming Authority, Gibraltar Gambling Division, and the Curacao Antillephone division.
Furthermore, many of the casinos under these licencing authorities operate out of countries such as Curacao, Gibraltar, Cyprus, and Malta. Irish players can sign up to these overseas websites, deposit, withdraw, and place low to high stakes bets on sports, lottery, table games, video slots, live dealer games and more. It is big business, but also means billions of Euros flowing out of Ireland.
Ireland Introducing New Gambling License & Rules Follows Euro Trend
Recently Germany and the Netherlands changed their laws regarding online gambling by introducing new restrictions and regulations. Also, we just saw the same situations occur over in the Philippines where the PAGCOR is now allowing land-based casinos to offer online casino gaming to VIP customers. However, the PAGCOR uses a US-style system which requires all online operations to function under existing land-based casino licenses and on premisses licensed for gambling.
On the other hand, Ireland will take the same approach as most other European gambling authorities such as the UKGC (United Kingdom), DGA (Denmark), SGA (Sweden), and multiple other European nations whereby the online casino firms are still overseas but must pay taxes on gambling revenues in Ireland or licensing fees to operate—the latter looking more likely although taxes on top are still a possibility.
Meanwhile, land-based casinos will perhaps remain relatively unaffected. All the casinos in Ireland must pay some local taxes as the business is registered in Ireland as an EU entity. The primary reason for the gambling reform is aimed almost entirely at brining online gambling in line with current Irish gambling laws.