Irish Minister Breaks down the Role of “Extremely Powerful” Regulator

Irish Minister Breaks down the Role of “Extremely Powerful” Regulator. Comprehensive legislation will aid the development of this regulator. (Image by Marin Tulard on Unsplash)

Minister of State for Justice in the Republic of Ireland, James Browne has outlined the roles of the up-and-coming and powerful Irish casino regulator, but a Labor Senator has requested for quicker action. According to reports by The Irish Times, the minister explained that comprehensive legislation will aid the development and management of a very powerful regulatory body to be launched by 2021 ending, and it will emphasize mainly on wellbeing and public health. Ireland seems to be serious about improving its gambling sector since it just introduced new gambling legislation last month.

Browne further explained that by September, the legislation to create the regulator will be set up and it will hire 100 individuals while maintaining the power to develop codes of standards and regulations. Lastly, the watchdog will be able to set fines in cases of non-compliance. The Interim Gaming and Lotteries Act was passed by Irish legislators in 2021 with the primary goal of modernizing the gambling legislation in the country dating back to 1956 and 1931.

Browne added that it is crucial to understand that the proposed regulator will also focus primarily on public health remit in every recommendation and decision they will make. When he was addressing the Seanad Eireann earlier this year, Browne argued that the regulatory oversight of Ireland casinos is fragmented and not consistent due to its widespread prevalence across a range of agencies and departments.

Senator Mark Wall Expresses His Reservations

The regulator is set to be appointed by year-end under the current plans. However, Labor party senator Mark Wall has stated that:

The country cannot afford to wait till September before it bans gambling advertising.  The Senator also criticized how watershed is not available for betting marketing such that young adults and children are exposed to addictive behavior due to gambling advertising in Ireland. There have been several stories of children of age 6 asking their parents what the gambling advertisements were all about especially when such kids are being homeschooled and exposed to the ads.

Senator Wall also pointed to the country’s average gambling spending of 9.8 billion pounds annually which according to him marks Ireland out as the 7th largest spenders on gambling per head in the world. Back in February this year, the Labor Party in Ireland introduced the Gambling (Prohibition of Advertising) Bill to the Oireachtas which is intended to implement a ban on gambling advertisements aired on the TV. Two of the leading sports authorities in Ireland, GPA (Gaelic Players Association) and GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) have echoed several calls to sever ties between betting and sports and also a ban on ads. Wall further stated that he receives regular calls from constituents stating that they simply want to watch their favorite sport without being bombarded with several gambling advertisements that have become the order of the day.

Statement from the President of the Republic of Ireland

In a statement released last weekend regarding the introduction of the new and powerful Irish casino regulator, Michael D Higgins, President of the Republic of Ireland who was a Labor Party member before he was elected as the Head of State in 2011 referred to sports betting as a scourge. He also criticized what he described as dangerous gambling advertising.

While speaking on gambling advertising, Browne stated that:

Finding a way to effectively ban advertising can be challenging especially as many of the ads come in from other countries around the globe due to a tight sports schedule of both weekly internationals and domestic top-flight competitions broadcast and daily horse racing.

Browne however added that administrators in Ireland will keep monitoring the results of the ongoing gambling review in the UK which he believes will cover the issue of sport sponsorship.

The Rise of a Powerful Irish Casino Regulator

The 2005 Gambling Act overhaul is surrounded by the debate on the issue of sponsorship of sports by betting companies has become the new norm across the Irish Sea. Several stakeholders have touted a potential ban on partnership deals between operators and professional sports clubs as the most likely outcome of the review. Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, and his cabinet are reportedly supporting the notion to ban the partnerships.


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