Ireland took a step closer to creating a firm legislative framework to govern licensing of small-scale brick and mortar casinos as well as online gambling sites in Ireland. Dermot Ahern, the Minister of Justice, recently published a consultation paper – ‘Options for Regulating Gambling’ – which outlined the framework for licensing small-scale casino that have operated as unlicensed private member clubs since 1970. Minister Ahern also gave specific details as to how licensing and regulation of the operators of online casinos in Ireland would “significantly improve the scope of job creation”.
Brian Lenihan, the Minister for Finance, supported Minister Ahern’s framework and proposed a tax and licensing system for online casinos operating within Ireland in his recent Budget speech. Within his speech, Minster Lenihan underlined the benefits of licensing internet gambling and betting companies, clarifying that “it would make Ireland an attractive location for online casinos, betting and gambling operators.” He further stated that the quick passage of the framework into law will create thousands of new jobs, reduce unemployment and generate higher tax revenues.
David Hickson, the Associate Director of the Gaming and Leisure Association of Ireland, welcomed the framework, calling it “a step in the right direction” and encouraged the legislature to begin drafting a “clear policy document, during the current session, which would provide certainty to the online casino industry and offer extra protection to consumers.” Mr. HIckson commented that “the lack of regulation is affecting the ability of online casinos to plan for the future. An online casino in Ireland is much less likely to flourish until gambling legislation based on a clearly defined framework was in place.”