Ireland’s gambling laws are about to change – and here’s what this will mean for betting shops and the public

THE Cabinet has authorized the publication of new legislation which will overhaul the way gambling is regulated and advertised in Ireland.

The Gambling Regulation Act will modernize the licensing and regulation of gambling and address the impact of technology on an industry that increasingly gambles online. It is, said Taoiseach Micheál Martin, a “long-awaited and much-needed new law”.

That’s what we can expect from the new law.


The most tangible impact will be a new watershed that will ban gambling advertising between 5:30am and 9pm daily. Advertising will also be banned online unless an individual opts out of receiving advertising.

There will be a ban on children entering premises where gambling is taking place and restrictions on gambling advertising at events involving children.

In practical terms, Secretary of State James Browne stated that sports clubs with underage teams cannot enter into sponsorship deals with gambling companies.

British and international broadcasters will also be banned from broadcasting gambling advertising for events they broadcast in Ireland, but the government will not be able to ban billboards that may be displayed in sports stadiums.


Incentives to entice adults to gamble will be banned. These include free hospitality, VIP treatment, free bets and special officers. There will also be a ban on using credit cards to gamble and using any type of credit facility to gamble.

Any advertising that promotes excessive or compulsive gambling is also prohibited. There will also be a ban on ATMs in bookmakers, but not for circuits as they offer other services such as food and drink.

This legislation does not apply to the National Lottery


The legislation will create a new regulator, the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland, which will focus on public safety and welfare.

Her remit covers online and in-person gambling and will have the power to regulate advertising, gambling websites and apps.

The regulator will be able to request information from companies, monitor compliance, conduct inspections and investigate suspected or actual violations of the law.


Secretary of State James Browne said sports clubs with underage teams could not sign sponsorship deals with gambling companies. Photo: Tom Burke


All businesses that have either a physical or online presence in Ireland are required to register with the Authority. There will also be three types of licenses: business-to-consumer gaming, betting and lottery licenses, business-to-business licenses, and gaming licenses for charity or philanthropy.

The agency will also maintain a national gambling exclusion register so that any person who decides they have a gambling problem can put their details on the register to self-exclude. All companies must ensure that this person is removed from their services and refer them to services that can help.


There will be a ban on children entering any premises where gambling is taking place. Photo: Matthew Lloyd

Along those same lines, there will also be a levy on industry to be determined by the regulator to fund a Social Impact Fund. It is used to fund initiatives to reduce problem gambling and to support awareness and education efforts.

“Of course, there are many people in our country who love to gamble, but we must recognize and protect ourselves from the truly horrific impact gambling is having on some people, families and communities,” the Taoiseach said.


Any operator who offers gambling activities without a license issued by the authority or who does not act in accordance with his license, if convicted, could face up to eight years imprisonment or a fine at the discretion of the courts.

Fines are up to €20 million or 10 percent of sales, whichever is greater. The regulator will also be able to force an ISP to remove any unlicensed online advertising.


Taoiseach Micheál Martin said society needs to become more aware of the impact gambling is having on some people, families and communities. Photo: Liam McBurney


Mr Browne, who is leading the bill, appointed chief executive-elect Anne Marie Caulfield, former director of the Residential Tenancies Board, back last September.

Her appointment, following an open, international Public Appointments Service selection process, aims to minimize the time needed between the passage of the law and the date when, as Browne said today, the regulator can “get going”. .


Depending on how quickly the legislative process moves through the Dáil, Seanad and Oireachtas Judiciary Committees, the Government hopes it can be up and running next year.

Mr Browne admitted he had not consulted with industry before finalizing the legislation published today and they will likely have a lot to say on it. Ireland’s gambling laws are about to change – and here’s what this will mean for betting shops and the public

Fry Electronics Team

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