Update on the General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill 2013

It is being reported in today’s media that the General Scheme of a new Gambling Control Bill (the “Scheme”) is due for discussion before the Irish Government today (19 October 2021).

It should be noted that the Scheme is not legislation but merely the heads of what may be contained in a Gambling Control Bill once it is published. The Scheme, if enacted, will be the first step towards a comprehensive overhaul of gambling law in Ireland. A draft of the Gambling Control Bill has yet to be considered by the Irish Government and is likely to take some time to draft.  It is worth noting that in 2013 a General Scheme for Gambling Control Bill was also published which never progressed to enactment.

The Scheme is likely to reflect many of the proposed measures included in the Interdepartmental Working Group On Future of Licensing and Regulation of Gambling 2019 (available here). 

Recent reports, including a publication by the Irish Times (available here) indicate that the Scheme is expected to include proposals which, if enacted will:

  1. ban free bets, inducements or VIP treatment for certain gamblers; 
  2. impose restrictions on certain gambling advertising regarding the time of day and frequency that advertisements can be broadcast on TV, radio and other forms of media;
  3. ban the use of images of children in advertising; and 
  4. establish a social impact fund which will introduce a levy on gambling companies which will be used to fund addiction treatment for certain gamblers and other measures regarding awareness of gambling addictions. 

The Scheme is also expected to introduce a new gambling regulator responsible for controlling gambling in Ireland.

The powers of the regulator designated under the Scheme are likely to include the ability to: 

  1. revoke or suspend gambling licences;
  2. freeze accounts and block incoming payments to providers; and 
  3. impose sanctions for non-compliance. 

The Scheme has not yet been published.  We will continue keep you updated on the development of the Scheme as it progresses. 

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.