Irish lawmakers are in the midst of talks about the possibility of regulating online gambling. An announcement yesterday from Irish Justice Minister Dermot Ahern indicated that a discussion paper exploring the possibilities of licensing and regulating internet gambling in Ireland has been approved by the Irish government.
“Our existing laws regulating gambling are not fit for purpose in this age of mass global communications. I am publishing these options so as to provide choices to be made to properly regulate the gambling landscape,” explained Ahern.
“Today’s initiative is, therefore, a major step on the road towards developing a new fully regulated environment for the sector, reflecting 21st century thinking in this area of complex public policy.”
This “Options for Regulating Gambling” report proposed fundamental changes to Irish gambling laws and described a scheme for the regulation of internet gambling sites. Particular attention was paid to potential social impacts of online gambling, including the protection of children.
The paper proposed that the Department of Justice and Law Reform should be the unified regulator of all land-based gambling centers and all online gambling sites in Ireland. Under the proposed system, not only would online gambling be regulated, but land-based casino gambling rules would also be revised. The paper proposed a scheme to extending casino licensing to include land-based casinos. Current private member clubs that offer gambling services would be required, under the new laws, to obtain proper casino gambling licenses. Failure to comply would lead to prosecution.
The report further explained that while the role of regulating sports betting in Ireland would be transferred from the Minister for Finance to the Minister for Justice and Law Reform, the fundamental rules surrounding sports betting in Ireland would not be changed.