Will Ireland’s Gambling Laws Ever Change?
Ireland has been working to change its current set of gambling legislation since 2013. That year, the Gambling Control Bill was introduced to lawmakers. It’s been more than six years since this bill was proposed, and no changes have been made. Many are now beginning to wonder if Ireland’s gambling laws will ever change.
More reports are coming out that indicate Ireland has one of the world’s largest number of problem gamblers. There is also a significant issue of children gambling here. Let’s take a look at the Gambling Control Bill and talk about why it hasn’t been passed yet.
Changes to Ireland’s Gambling Laws Over the Years
The Irish are well-known to enjoy gambling. The first set of laws to regulate the gambling industry here came all the way back in 1854. Very few regulations actually came from these laws. Numerous gaming establishments dotted the country without any oversight.
In 1956, the government here passed the Gaming and Lotteries Act. This law banned commercial casinos from operating in the country. Several establishments began opening here that offered member-only gambling clubs. It was a loophole that allowed people here to legally place bets.
No major changes to Ireland’s gambling laws have come since that time. The Gambling Control Bill may change that. It would allow for 40 casinos to legally operate in the country. This bill will also add new measures to help regulate the land-based and online gambling industry here.
Issues with Ireland’s Gambling Industry
Certain lawmakers have addressed the issue of problem gambling in recent years. According to multiple reports, there are more than 40,000 people in Ireland with a gambling addiction. It’s a troubling statistic for officials here.
Reports indicate that one in ten children in Ireland partakes in illegal gambling. The government is looking for a solution, yet only one real piece of legislation has been introduced. The Gambling Control Bill will help to change things, according to author Alan Shatter.
A number of unregulated casino sites are able to freely operate inside Ireland. The government can’t protect Irish citizens from these sites. Hope is that the bill introduced back in 2013 would give Ireland the same level of gambling regulation that the UK currently holds.
Will Legislation Here Change in 2019?
Many politicians are calling for change. Maureen O’Sullivan is one of the most active proponents of the 2013 bill. She claims it will also help to curb money laundering by stating,
“1% of the industry is regulated for money laundering, which means that 99% are not”.
Politicians Sharon Byrne and David Hickson have told the media that Ireland’s current gambling laws are outdated. According to them, a change is necessary in order to help catch people with problem gambling early.
It’s hard to tell whether or not Ireland’s gambling laws will change this year. There are some that argue increased regulation may actually encourage more gambling in the country. Some feel that the Gambling Control Bill will not regulate the gambling industry here enough.
If indeed it’s passed, every gambling operator in the country, both on land and online, will need to apply for a license to operate. These companies would also need to pay tax on their revenue. The UK earns approximately £15 billion annually, and Ireland could earn something similar.
No one knows whether or not the Gambling Control Bill will be passed. There are politicians on both sides of the debate. It’s clear that Ireland needs to make a change. Whether or not the bill from 2013 is the answer is up for debate.
Do you think Ireland’s gambling laws will change this year? If they do, will it be good for the gambling industry here? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!
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