Ireland announces the appointment of the new CEO Designate of the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland

The Minister of State with responsibility for Law Reform James Browne TD, has today announced the appointment of Ms. Anne Marie Caulfield as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Designate of the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland (read the announcement here).

The appointment of Ms. Caulfield marks a significant development in the much anticipated reform of gambling laws in Ireland as she will be the first dedicated regulator appointed in Ireland to oversee the regulation of betting and gaming in Ireland (excluding the National Lottery).  Her role will be to oversee the regulation of all forms of gambling in Ireland with the exception of the National Lottery which will remain regulated by its own dedicated regulatory.

Commenting on the appointment Minister Browne stated;

“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Anne Marie Caulfield, who will bring a wealth of professional experience and expertise to the role.

The appointment of the CEO Designate is an important milestone in the future establishment of the Gambling Regulatory Authority, advancing a key Programme for Government commitment. Greater regulation of the gambling industry in Ireland has long been called for and is a key priority for me as Minister.

This is an incredibly important piece of work from a social perspective and will make a real difference in preventing harm to people from problem gambling, but also to ensuring that modern and effective licensing and regulatory measures are in place for the industry.” 

Speaking about her new role, Ms. Caulfield said:

“It is a great privilege to be appointed as CEO Designate of the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland. Effective and efficient regulation of this sector is crucial and I relish the challenge of putting that framework in place.

The Authority must be built on a foundation of robust legislation and I welcome the progress to date of the draft Gambling Regulation Bill.

I look forward to developing a close working relationship with all of the stakeholders in the sector, Gambling Regulators elsewhere in the EU and with Department of Justice officials.” 

The appointment of the new CEO Designate is a further demonstration that Ireland is well on the road to the much needed reform of its outdate gambling laws.  It is interesting to note that the press release also notes that “The Department of Justice has established a Programme Board to oversee the process and to ensure that the different work streams are progressed in parallel to the legislative process. This work, in combination with the early appointment of a CEO Designate, is aimed at minimising the time between the enactment of the legislation and the date on which the regulator commences operations.”  No details were provided on the make up of the Programme Board but it is clear that the Government is keen to ensure that the building blocks are put in place to facilitate the commencement of the activities of the Gambling Authority as soon as possible.

The key next step will be the publication of the Gambling Control Bill.  We understand that the bill is currently being drafted and it is anticipated that the draft legislation will be issue prior to the end of 2022.  Once enacted it is anticipated that the Gambling Regulatory Authority will commence operations in 2023.

After many false dawns it now appears that regulatory reform is eminent.

If you have any questions on the regulatory reform of gambling in Ireland please contact Alan Heuston (Head of our Betting, Gaming & Lotteries Team).

This document has been prepared by McCann FitzGerald LLP for general guidance only and should not be regarded as a substitute for professional advice. Such advice should always be taken before acting on any of the matters discussed.