Ireland to regulate online casino and betting industry

Ireland to regulate online casino and betting industry

Ireland to regulate online casino and betting industry

Ireland to regulate online casino and betting industry

News of the proposal to create an agency tasked with overseeing the iGaming sector first came to light at the end of November 2017. Following calls from Anne Rabbitte, justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan, and back-bencher Jack Chambers, Fianna Fáil’s frontbench members agreed to back any potential plans. Although a tentative pre-Christmas deadline might be a stretch too far, there is clearly momentum for the type of legislation that has proven beneficial in the UK.

As it stands, all online casino, poker, and sports betting sites active in the UK must obtain a licence issued by the Gambling Commission (UKGC ). Prior to this government-backed agency taking charge of the industry, operators could simply hold a licence from one of the offshore organisations such as the Malta Gaming Authority. As well as outside agencies essentially being responsible for the safety of UK iGaming, remote operators were able to profit from UK residents and avoid making any tax payments due to the lack of local legislation.

However, following an amendment to the 2005 Gambling Act, all online operators, remote or otherwise, were required to obtain a licence from the UK Gambling Commission and pay a gambling duty. Since the change came into effect on December 1, 2014, any site serving players in the UK must fulfil certain licensing conditions. Indeed, when you look at what online casino Highroller has to offer, you will notice that many reviews point to the fact it works with recognised software providers and payment processors. On top of that, you will see Highroller has a customer support team (called the ‘back up crew’ ), that is there to help in all instances.

These may be points of reference in a review, but there are also legal obligations. Without offering software that is certified as fair or using secure banking methods, an operator cannot obtain a UKGC licence. When the new legislation was introduced, its main aim was to protect consumers. Although the industry now generates £14 billion annually, a portion of which goes into the country’s coffers, safety and security were always the main objectives. This is something Fianna Fáil wants to see in Ireland.

Although the way in which the system is implemented may differ slightly from the UK’s, the Government has a model that is proven to work as a reference point. In the first instance, the proposed bill will seek to regulate the advertising of gambling products and services. On top of this, as Ms Rabbitte noted in her address to parliament, there needs to be “an office of gambling control in Ireland”. To offer a similar level of oversight as the UK’s Gambling Commission, Ireland’s new body would need both funding and cross-party backing. However, what is clear is that the seeds have been sown and that Ireland may soon have its own system of regulation in place when it comes to online gambling.


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