Further delays to the launch of Ireland’s gambling regulator

Posted on September 22, 2020

Last year saw Ireland’s government announced plans to establish the nation’s own gambling regulator. But setbacks have meant that the regulatory body won’t be set up until at least 2021. The delays were announced by the Justice Minister Helen McEntee.

The then-Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that the gambling regulator would take 18 months to set up. This would have meant that Ireland would have had its own gambling regulator by the end of 2020. Such an organisation would have had powers to oversee bets on everything from horse racing to virtual sports betting. But for now, it looks like there will be a long wait until the introduction of the governing body.

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Why has the launch of Ireland’s gambling regulator been delayed?

The Justice Minister said that, ‘the size, complexity and technological development of the modern gambling industry,’ meant that the regulator should be adequately resourced to carry out the task. But getting the regulatory framework up and running has proven to be difficult. This is especially true in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

What would Ireland’s gambling regulator do?

The regulator would aim to ensure public safety for anybody gambling online or in person. It would do this by having the power to regulate gambling websites and apps, as well as advertising. Gambling activities covered would include anything from horse racing and esports betting to casino gaming.

Last year saw the launch of Ireland’s Gaming and Lotteries Amendment Bill. This was created to update existing gambling laws that hadn’t been updated since 1956. The regulator would have powers to enforce the new laws of the bill. Ireland’s licensed operators would have to give the regulator some of their revenues towards a problem gambling fund. The watchdog would also be able to set limits on prizes, as well as how much people can wager.

How will this affect virtual sports betting?

A regulatory body would have the power to limit how much you could bet and win on virtual sports. Plus it would enforce the operator to provide you with tools to keep your betting under control. Such tools could include anything from setting deposit limits to being able to exclude yourself from the site.

The virtual sports betting scene in Ireland has never been more popular. Covid-19 meant that the likes of virtual soccer became a viable gambling option while sporting events were prohibited.

What is the state of play in Ireland’s gambling industry?

Ireland’s gambling sector is currently worth in excess of €8 billion. The nation is well known for its enthusiasm for betting on traditional sports such as horse racing and rugby. But online technologies have meant that everything from virtual sports betting to online gaming has become increasingly popular.

Ireland is also home to some of the world’s largest gambling brands such as Flutter Entertainment. This company is based in Dublin and it owns Paddy Power and Betfair. All of which means that Ireland’s punters and bookmakers will be keen to see when and how the gambling regulator will be launched.

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Gianfranco Capozzi

Gianfranco is an Editor-in-Chief and works as Head of Esports at Catena Media. Specializing in growth hacking and digital marketing areas, he has been working in relation to iGaming and financial services for the last 10 years. Follow him GFCapozzi

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