Ireland is one of only two countries in Europe to not have any dedicated legislation to online gambling, but that could all be about to change. Proposals have been put forward to establish the General Scheme of the Gambling Regulation. These schemes have been welcomed by the EGBA, but there are some concerns over proposed bans on free bets.
The bill in question was put forward by the country’s Minister of State for Law Reform, Youth Justice and Immigration, James Browne. It aims to give Ireland its very own gambling regulation body.
The bill was praised for a number of different reasons. This included the launching of Ireland’s own self-exclusion scheme and measures to prevent vulnerable players from being offered credit. These measures have proven successful in other countries.
While much of the proposal was met with enthusiasm from the European Gaming and Betting Association, there was one idea that has become a sticking point. This was the proposal to ban all free bets within the country.
The EGBA has expressed concerns that a blanket ban on free bets would push players into the arms of overseas and illegal operators. Blanket bans within the industry are often met with criticism for this reason.
Talking about the proposal, EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer said they welcomed the moves that were being made by Ireland. They added that it was a big step in the right direction for Irish gambling regulation and that it will provide clear guidelines for operators in the region.
Expanding on the proposal, Haijer said they are looking forward to working with the country and that they will share the experience of other countries and jurisdictions to help Ireland. They believe that this is a great chance to shape the Irish market and to set high standards for protection and security.
These proposals are likely to take some time to come to fruition. First, the proposal will be sent for final drafting to the Irish Parliamentary Counsel. It will then go through the Oireachtas Justice Committee. These processes can take a minimum of a year.
The news of a regulatory body in Ireland is met with enthusiasm from consumers and operators alike. Gambling is very popular in Ireland and a more regulated market will mean greater protection of gamblers there.