Minister Browne announces the commencement of the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Act 2019

 

 

The 2019 Act is an interim reform measure pending the comprehensive reform of gambling in Ireland. The Government is committed to the modernisation of our licensing and regulatory environment for gambling. A new independent gambling regulator will enforce appropriate licensing and regulatory measures in respect of all gambling activities, including online.

 

Referring to the Programme for Government commitment, Minister Browne said:

 

“Gambling is a large and evolving industry. It must be the subject of a modern, sensible and effective licensing and regulatory approach. My Department is now engaged in the drafting of a General Scheme of a new Bill to provide for that comprehensive reform.

 

“I was also pleased to secure “seed funding” of €200,000 for the new Regulator as part of the Justice allocation in Budget 2021”.

 

Permits and licences already issued under the provisions of the 1956 Act will remain in force until their next renewal date. If that date is after 1 December 2020, the new provisions will apply. All necessary arrangements will be in place to support the commencement of the Act including:

 

 

Further information on the changes announced by Minister Browne today can be found on the website of the Department of Justice at: www.justice.ie.

 

ENDS…/

 

Note for Editors

 

The Act can be located here: http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2019/act/44/enacted/en/html

 

The following table sets out the key elements concerned for gaming and lotteries.

 

Nature of activity

Max Ticket Price/Sales

Max Total Prize

Purpose of gaming or lottery

Issued by/max period of validity

Gaming Permit

(Cards, Darts, Quizzes, etc.)

€10

€3,000 per game

Charity/Philanthropic Purpose or for private benefit of promoter

Garda Superintendent/12 months

Lotteries without Permit or Licence

€5/ max 1,500 tickets available

€1,000

Charity/Philanthropic Purpose only

No Licence or Permit required/once in every 3 months

Promotional Lottery

No charge. (other than purchase  promoted product (if required)

€2,500

N/A – for product  promotion purpose only

No Licence or Permit required

Lottery Permit

€10

€5,000 per lottery per  week

Charity/Philanthropic Purpose or for private benefit of promoter

Garda Superintendent/12 months

Lottery Licence

€10

€30,000 per lottery per week²

Charity/Philanthropic Purpose only³

District Court/12 months

 

 

 

 

 

¹If the lottery is held for charitable/philanthropic purpose, up to 5% of proceeds only may be retained for administrative costs.

²An annual or ‘one off’ lottery may be held, with a maximum prize limit of €360,000.

³A minimum of 25% of the total proceeds must be allocated each month to the charitable/philanthropic purpose promoted under the Licence.

 

 

Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Act 2019

The Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Act 2019 significantly amends and modernises the original Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956 (the Principal Act), which governs the permit and licence approach to gaming and lottery activity and for the licensing of gaming machines in amusement halls and funfairs.

 

The most significant changes made by the 2019 Act are as follows:

 

Gaming

 

Section 3 amends section 4 of the Principal Act to restate that it is an offence to promote gaming without first having secured a gaming permit or licence. (This is largely a restatement of the existing law).

 

Section 4 inserts a new section 9A into the Principal Act to provide for gaming under permit:

 

Section 12 substitutes a new section 28 into the Principal Act to provide for lotteries (including bingo) promoted under licence.

 

Licences may be issued by the District Court for charitable and philanthropic causes only (e.g. sports clubs, community groups, etc.). No licence may be issued for the promotion of a lottery for the personal benefit of the promotor.

 

 

Neither the 1956 Act, nor the 2019 Act provides for a separate legal pathway for the licensing of commercial bingo. Bingo operators can act as agents for licence holders if they choose to run a lottery in that way.

 

Section 18 substitutes a new section 44 into the Principal Act to provide for a consolidated and modernised list of penalties for offences under the amended Act, including fine amounts, and provision for corporate bodies to incur penalties.

 

Section 19 substitutes a new section 46 into the Principal Act to provide for the suspension/revocation by the District Court of a licence/permit upon conviction. It provides for an appeal of such conviction to the Circuit Court.

 

Section 25 inserts a new section 4A into the Totalisator Act 1929 to provide for, the first time, a minimum age limit of 18 years for betting on the Tote in accordance with the Totalisator Act 1929.

 

 

Future reform of licensing and regulation of gambling

 

Gambling activity is of considerable economic impact in Ireland. The value of the Irish gambling market annually has been estimated at €8-10 billion. The industry is large, complex, growing and evolving from a largely land-based manifestation to an online one, increasingly without reference to national boundaries.

 

The Programme for Government commits to establishing ‘a gambling regulator focused on public safety and wellbeing, covering gambling online and in person, and the powers to regulate advertising, gambling websites and apps. This commitment is clearly directed towards the protection of the public and the regulator will have a major role in this regard.

 

Work on the preparation of comprehensive new gambling legislation is underway in the Department of Justice. That work will have regard to the recommendations in the Inter-Departmental Working Group on the Future Licensing and Regulation of Gambling in Ireland, approved by Government in March 2019 and other relevant Reports. Regard will also be had to reform developments and issues in other States,

 

The Working Group Report recommends that the licensing and regulatory functions for all forms of gambling will be the responsibility an independent gambling regulator which would be self-financing insofar as possible through fees and levies imposed on licensed gambling operators.

 

The gambling regulator will:

 

 

A modern and effectively regulated gambling environment will ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that gambling will be a safe, fair and entertaining activity for the majority of those who choose to take part in it. It must provide enhanced consumer protection for players while limiting to the greatest extent possible the harmful effects on young people and those who may be susceptible to addiction.