Bill Aims to Establish a New Independent Regulatory Body, the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland (GRAI), to Oversee Both in-Person and Online Gambling
January 29, 2024 | Legislature
DUBLIN, Ireland (January 29, 2024) — The following summary outlines the current situation regarding gambling in Ireland and the efforts being made by the government to address the issue through the Gambling Regulation Bill.
A report from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in October revealed that one in thirty Irish adults have a gambling problem, which is ten times higher than the figure found in 2019. An additional 7.1% of adults show moderate evidence of problem gambling.
Ireland ranks fourth in Europe for having the highest gambling losses and fourteenth globally.
The lax laws surrounding gambling in Ireland have been identified as contributing to the high rates of gambling-related problems.
The government has responded to these issues with the Gambling Regulation Bill, set to come into effect in the coming months.
Gambling Regulation Bill Highlights:
The bill aims to establish a new independent regulatory body, the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland (GRAI), to oversee both in-person and online gambling.
The legislation includes tighter restrictions on gambling advertising, websites, and apps.
A proposed self-exclusion register would allow individuals to prohibit themselves from betting with any online gambling operator licensed in Ireland.
Concerns and Industry Response:
Flutter CEO Peter Jackson questioned the ESRI’s findings, expressing doubt about the extent of the gambling problem in Ireland.
The industry supports regulation but raises concerns about specific elements of the bill, including staking limits, inducements, and advertising restrictions.
The proposed €10 staking limit and €3,000 limit for bonuses or winnings are contested as not practical for certain games.
Advertising restrictions between 5:30 am and 9 pm have raised concerns among gambling operators and representatives of the Irish horse racing industry.
The horse racing industry claims that the bill could make their operations economically unviable and negatively impact jobs and revenue.
Charities in Ireland express concerns that the categorization of raffles and lotteries as gambling activities in the legislation could inhibit fundraising opportunities.
The Charities Institute Ireland estimates a potential loss of €150,000 per year due to these categorizations.
Expectations and Outlook:
The final Gambling Regulation Bill 2022 is expected to come into effect this year, although no specific date has been announced.
Experts on gambling addiction and recovered addicts hope that the regulations will improve Ireland’s gambling culture and protect vulnerable members of society.
The implementation of appropriate services and regulations is seen as crucial for making long-term improvements.
It’s clear that the gambling industry, charities, and the government are engaged in a complex dialogue regarding the regulations, with each group expressing its concerns and priorities. The effectiveness of the bill in addressing gambling-related issues will likely depend on the balance achieved between regulation and industry interests.