Creation of independent Irish regulator delayed until 2021

The creation of an Irish gambling regulator has been delayed until ‘at least 2021’ according to Justice Minister Helen McEntee.

In May 2019, the Irish government’s proposals to establish an independent gambling regulator to oversee the licencing of all gambling operators received the ‘full backing’ of the industry. 

According to Fine Gael TD David Stanton, a junior minister at the time, the creation of a Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill will oversee licensing in addition to establishing a social fund to provide treatment for gambling addicts, funded by a levy on licence holders.

The legislation will provide a long-awaited modernisation of existing legislation for the sector that dates back to 1931 and 1956.

Ministers originally anticipated that a regulator would be created by 2020. However, when asked by Fianna Fáil TD Padraig O’Sullivan about the progress on creating an independent regulatory body, McEntree confirmed that there will be a further delay.

McEntree explained that the government has a ‘clear commitment’ to creating a gambling regulator which will prioritise public safety and well-being, stating that the body will cover ‘gambling online and in person, and the powers to regulate advertising, gambling websites and apps’.

“Work is currently underway in my department on the development of the legislation to provide the necessary modern licensing and regulatory provisions for the Irish gambling industry,” she said. “I hope to bring proposals in that regard to the Government next year.

“Given the size, complexity and technological development of the modern gambling industry and having regard to the outdated and complex arrangements, it will be important that the regulator will be established on a strong footing and adequately resourced to carry out this important task.”

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