Ireland moves to reign in gambling industry

Euractiv
 
Ireland moves to reign in gambling industry
MyBookie

16-11-2022 (updated: 16-11-2022)

Under the new regulation, advertisements for gambling, online or on TV, will be banned between 5:30 am and 9 pm to minimise young people’s exposure to them and ads aimed at children will be outlawed. [Shutterstock/Maxx-Studio]

Widespread bans will be introduced on gambling advertisements, with violations incurring possible prison sentences, following new legislation approved by the Irish government on Tuesday.

Under the new regulation, advertisements for gambling, online or on TV, will be banned between 5:30 am and 9 pm to minimise young people’s exposure to them and ads aimed at children will be outlawed.

“The ever-changing but technologically advanced nature of the gambling industry means that children and teenagers are more exposed than ever to both overt and subtle gambling advertising,” said Roderic O’Gorman, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth, at the legislation’s launch on Tuesday.

“It is important that this is properly regulated to ensure that where gambling is advertised, it is done in a way that minimises harmful influences to young people.”

The bill is also set to take wider practical measures to protect more vulnerable people.

Children will no longer be allowed onto premises where gambling occurs, and special offers on betting or free hospitality will be banned. Sports clubs with members who are minors will also be prohibited from signing sponsorship deals with gambling companies.

The legislation will also create a National Gambling Exclusion Register, which all gambling companies operating in Ireland will be required to join. Anyone who feels they have a gambling problem will be able to add their name to its list, after which they will be prevented from using the services of these companies.

To oversee the bill’s implementation, a new watchdog, the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland, is set to be established, projected to be operational next year.

The regulator will have the power to fine firms as much as €20 million or 10% of annual turnover, and company executives could face up to eight years in prison for violating the bill or operating without a license.

Also set to be introduced by the new law is a levy that will be taken from the industry to finance a Social Impact Fund, which will work to research and raise awareness about problem gambling, as well as provide treatment for those affected.

“When gambling becomes a problem for an individual, the impact can be absolutely devastating”, said Taoiseach Micheál Martin. “The steps we are taking today recognise and help protect against that damage.”

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