knowledge | 7 January 2021 |

Will the Irish Gambling Regulator be Established in 2021?

Recent media reports suggest that the long-awaited Irish gambling regulator will be established by the summer of 2021, with additional gambling legislation to follow.

The Minister of State with responsibility for Law Reform at the Department of Justice and Equality, James Browne T.D., stated last month that the Irish Government plans to create a gambling regulator by the summer of 2021 and will initially cover the cost of setting it up before arranging for it to be funded by the industry.  The Government is expecting to commit between €8 million and €12 million to the project “in the first few years”.  The minister stated that the Government wants to “give [the regulator] lots of flexibility”.

The Government also plans to introduce additional gambling legislation at an unspecified time in 2021. According to media reports, the new legislation could include:

  • spending limits on customers;
  • stronger age verification for mobile gambling;
  • advertising curbs, specifically, a prohibition on promotions aimed at returning customers to gambling; and
  • interestingly, the Minster of State ruled out the gambling legislation covering video game “loot boxes” where players exchange money for unknown prizes specific to each relevant video game, on the basis that, according to a statement from the Department of Justice and Equality, they “do not appear to fall within the current Irish legal definition of gambling, and purchases are essentially an e-commerce activity. As such, they would fall within the recourse of normal consumer law where there is dissatisfaction on the part of the customer with the purchase.”

McCann FitzGerald will continue to keep you updated on any further developments.  In the meantime, please contact us if you would like to discuss any potential implications for your business or clients in Ireland.

This briefing is 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.

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