Ireland plans major changes to gambling regulation

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Ireland plans major changes to gambling regulation
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Changes to gambling regulations in Ireland are long overdue. For more than decade lawmakers in the country tried to implement meaningful changes to the market, while different organizations proposed an increase in the protection for gamblers.

Earlier this week, the country made an important step toward regulating both online and land-based gambling. This happened after Irish lawmakers on Tuesday approved the publication of the country's new regulatory framework under the Gambling Regulation Bill.

At the time of the announcement, Taoiseach Micheál Martin commended the efforts of lawmakers and especially the country's Minister of State, James Browne, who contributed significantly to the Gambling Regulation Bill.

Martin acknowledged that the new regulation is long-awaited and seeks to significantly improve the protection of consumers from gambling harm. This, in turn, is expected to reduce the rate of problem gambling and the overall number of people affected by gambling harm. While the regulatory framework seeks to protect some gamblers it also aims at striking the right balance and allowing others to enjoy gambling responsibly.

According to Browne, the creation of a new regulatory body will play a crucial role in the regulation in the future. This task will be in the hands of the new Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA). Anne Marie Caulfield was selected back in September to spearhead the new regulator as its CEO.

Under the new bill on gambling, the GRA will have the necessary powers and authority to regulate the activity, ensure the protection of consumers and interact with the gambling industry. The Authority will also be in charge of licensing, monitoring compliance and investigating any potential breaches of the gambling regulations.

But how will the gambling landscape in Ireland change once the Bill comes into effect? Well, gambling operators would need to register with the GRA, regardless of whether they offer online gambling or retail services.

Thanks to the new bill, the well-being of consumers will be safeguarded as the Authority will oversee a National Gambling Exclusion Register. This register will enable customers to self-exclude from gambling by registering. This will help prevent individuals who suffer from problem gambling access venues or wagering online.

In addition to the Exclusion Register, the new bill seeks stricter regulation for gambling advertising. To protect the younger population, the Bill will prohibit gambling advertising between 5:30 AM and 9 PM. The gambling ads ban will be valid for TV and online advertising and will seek to reduce the exposure of children to gambling ads.

Special offers such as bonuses and VIP incentives, among other inducements will be banned under the overhauled regulation. Currently, there is no solid date confirming when the new Bill will come into effect. However, considering that the Bill gained traction recently, it may come into effect at some point next year.

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