Efforts to create a comprehensive regulatory landscape for Irish internet casinos continue with the latest legislative moves.
In line with those efforts, the proposed establishment of a regulator to oversee the National Lottery, thereby removing it from under the direct supervision of the Irish Department of Finance, is a significant step.
For one, this move includes changes to the National Lottery Act of 1986, with the aim of making it easier to sell lottery tickets online. There are also plans to sell the lottery license to a bidder who would then operate the National Lottery for 20 years.
What’s more, however, is that online regulations are not likely to be limited to lottery sales. Speaking before a subcommittee of the country’s legislature, Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform expressed his concerns about the proliferation of brick-and-mortar casino business (thinly disguised as member-only clubs) and about the unregulated online gaming sites.
Current Irish gambling laws do not address the matter of online gambling, so an overhaul has long been expected. Part of that overhaul could see the new lottery regulator being turned into the regulator for the Irish gambling industry as a whole, according to Howlin.
“It would certainly be my view and the Minister for Justice’s view that the lottery regulator would have a remit not only for the lottery but for gambling in general in due course,” said he.
As it stands now, a large number of casinos and online sportsbooks in Ireland are in fact based offshore for tax reasons. For the last couple of years the government’s aim has been considering plans to bring those companies – and revenues – back home, by creating a favorable and transparent environment, as well as penalties for not complying.
Having a regulator responsible for all of gambling, including online matters, is certainly a very important part of said transparency.