The Bill Will Limit Casino Size

5 July 2013 – By Cristian Dragomir

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The Minister for Justice in Ireland has recently published on his website, details about the new gambling legislation regarding the licensing of online gambling, casino size and problem gambling. In the general scheme of the Gambling Control Bill approved by the Cabinet, the number of casinos in the state is limited to 40 and no casino will have more than 15 tables. Besides that, a social fund to help treatment for problem gamblers is also contained. Analysts of the online casino market believe the legislation will effectively regulate the “new and dynamic gambling sector that has emerged in recent years” while providing an opportunity to introduce new measures to “protect vulnerable adults and young people”.

The new Bill will replace all existing arrangements for betting, gaming, bingo and lotteries and anyone offering gambling services, whether based in the State or elsewhere must have a license under the new Bill. A new self-financing agency will be set up to license and regulate the sector and also to protect young people and problem gamblers. In order to accomplish that, the Gambling Control Bill imposes new measures like age restriction, staff training, advertising and promotion controls, a complaints and compensation procedure. The law also says online casino operators will have to keep enough financial reserves to cover entitlements of customers. A new social gambling fund to help with treatment services for problem gamblers will also be introduced. Operators must pay their share for the development of services needed by people for whom gambling has become a problem.

Technological changes are the biggest factor in the recent expansion of gambling and the new law will have the flexibility necessary to deal with rapid and continuous innovation. The Bill would prohibit or restrict certain games if they are harmful and games are not yet in use. Also, according to the new legislation for online casinos, it will also relax the rule that bingo always has to be for charitable or philanthropic purposes. Online casino customers will have to wait until this new law comes into effect as the general scheme of the Bill has been published and work is under way to complete its drafting.

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