Minister Browne provides update to Cabinet on the establishment of a Gambling Regulator
24 March, 2021
Minister of State for Law Reform at the Department of Justice, Mr James Browne TD, briefed Cabinet yesterday on progress made in relation to the establishment of the Gambling Regulator.
Speaking today, Minister Browne said,
“Good progress has been made in driving this long sought reform on gambling regulation, and I was pleased to provide an update to Cabinet yesterday. I am determined to deliver on this important legislative and regulatory modernisation programme.”
“We are targeting some definite milestones in the year ahead including the publication of the General Scheme in Q3 and the appointment of a CEO Designate by the end of the year. There is a clear path towards the gambling regulator being operational in early 2023.”
“We have established a Programme Board in the Department of Justice to oversee the work and to ensure that the different work streams are progressed in parallel. The aim is to minimise the time between the enactment of the legislation and the date on which the regulator commences operations.”
The Programme for Government, and the Justice Plan 2021, commits to the establishment of a gambling regulator focused on public safety and wellbeing. The regulator will cover online and in person gambling and have the powers to regulate advertising, gambling websites and apps.
The gambling authority will have the necessary enforcement powers for licensing and to take action where individuals or operators are failing to follow rules and regulations. The authority will have as its key objectives:
- preventing gambling from being a source or support to crime;
- ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way for companies to make decisions in certainty; and,
- requiring the promotion of safe and responsible gambling and combatting problem gambling.
Minister Browne reiterated the importance of the regulator and its remit:
“Gambling is a significant sector and its regulation will need to balance the needs of the businesses and the social implications of problem gambling. Given the size, complexity and technological development of the modern gambling industry and having regard to the current outdated and complex arrangements, it is important that the regulator will be established on a strong footing and adequately resourced to carry out this important task.”
A Social Fund will be established, funded through the regulator and by the industry, to address gambling addiction. It will support research, information campaigns and treatment by relevant health professionals.
Note for Editors
In accordance with the Department of Justice’s Action Plan 2021, work is underway on the development of the legislation to develop the necessary modern licencing and regulatory provisions for the gambling industry and to assist this, a cross-functional programme team has been put in place within the Department.
In developing the General Scheme, the Department of Justice will consider possible measures to promote safer gambling, for example, stake and payment limits and restriction/prohibition on bonus offers and promotions.
The new Regulator will assume all of the current gambling licencing and regulatory responsibilities, which are currently spread across a range of Departments, local authorities, the District Court, An Garda Síochána and the Revenue Commissioners, etc. This commitment reflects the recommendations of the 2019 Report of the Inter-Departmental Working Group on the Future Licensing and Regulation of Gambling to establish an independent gambling regulator. The current preparatory work involves a major updating of the proposals of the General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill which was published in 2013.