On the 2nd of December 2022, the long-awaited Gambling Bill 2022 was officially made public. Through this legislation, the Irish government aims at giving a new face to the gambling laws in the country.
This will be accomplished by providing a more comprehensive regulatory and licensing scheme for gambling operators. The publication of the Bill came a few months after it was announced that Ms Anne Marie Caulfield had been appointed the new Designate CEO of the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland.
Formation Of The GRAI
The GRAI – Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland is a new statutory organ that will oversee the regulation and licensing of gambling services in the country. Its field of work will cover all forms of online and in-person gambling except for activities carried out by the National Lottery. The Authority is expected to have a total of 7 members with an appointed chairperson having relevant experience in compliance, consumer affairs, and gambling activities just to name a few.
Some key functions that will be taken up by the GRAI include:
- The regulation of gambling services and activities in person and online.
- Implementing safeguards to protect consumers from gambling issues and the establishment of a Social Impact Fund to finance research, education, and training on gambling addiction.
- Determining licensing fees and maintaining a register of all licensed operators.
- Ensuring that operators are compliant with restrictions on advertising and sponsorship.
- Receiving complaints and then investigating and addressing them accordingly.
- Ensuring that operators are compliant with the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Act 2010.
- Informing the Minister of Justice of regulation and licensing developments.
- Promoting public awareness about gambling activities and applicable regulations.
In exercising its function, the GRAI will oversee the introduction of three types of online and in-person gambling licenses.
- B2C gaming, lottery, and betting licenses
- B2B licenses
- Charitable/Philanthropic related gambling licenses.
Besides these licenses, the GRAI will be empowered to establish certification requirements for gambling services and products. However, consistent with current exemptions, certain gambling activities won’t require a license notably which; one-off small lotteries for charitable purposes where prizes do not exceed €2,000 and lotteries held in conjunction with the sale of products where the prize is at most €5,000 (currently €2,500).
Recent Laws And Regulations In Ireland
One of the most remarkable impacts of the new laws will be the imposed ban on gambling advertising between 5 PM – 9 PM daily. This will apply to “on-demand audio-visual media services”, social media websites, telephone, text messages, video sharing platforms, and emails. Online adverts will equally be prohibited unless a consumer specifically requests to receive them.
The protection of players is also a key focus of the new regulations. To achieve this, several proposals have been made for the introduction of restrictions and prohibitions. Some of these include the following.
- Limits on stakes and winnings ─ Here, players will be allowed to wager at most €10 on relevant games for a maximum win of €3,000. For relevant lotteries other than once-off lotteries, the limits are €10 for stakes and €5,000 maximum winnings per week. The same wagering max applies to all gambling activities while the maximum winnings can be up to €360,000 for a one-off lottery, gaming, and betting activity.
- Gambling operators shall ensure that players have access to responsible gambling tools to set limits on time and money spent.
- There’s also going to be a ban on the use of credit cards or extending credit facilities to cover gambling activities.
In addition, the GRAI will also have the power to prescribe days or times during which remote gambling can’t be provided.
Impact On Gambling and Online Gambling In IE
So far, gambling activities provided by remote operators had no specific obligation to hold an Irish license. With the coming into force of the GRAI, remote gambling will have to be regulated by the Authority which means quite a lot for online gambling operators in the country.
- Gaming and betting sites shall hold a license issued by the GRAI.
- A licensee shall not purchase gambling products from other parties that do not hold a B2B license.
- Licensees will have the obligation to furnish compliance reports and all necessary documentation to the GRAI.
- All remote gambling operators will be expected to display a copy of their gambling license issued by the Authority. This should display the licensee’s name and the registration number.
- Operators shall keep up-to-date records relating to individual consumers showing the credit of each account holder and the total amount of relevant payments made to the licensee for gambling. This will also include the total winnings amassed by the account holder which have not yet been paid out by the licensee.
- Wherever suspicious activity is suspected by a licensee, they must notify the Authority. In this case, the gambling operator shall cease accepting relevant payments from the consumer and issue a note in writing to anyone who further attempts to initiate the payment. All winnings shall also be withheld until the Authority notifies that payout can be made.
It should be noted that per the Bill, “Authority” stands for the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland.
In addition to the above, players shall be provided with responsible gambling tools and restrictions on advertising must be respected by operators similar to rules new UK online casinos have to follow as reported by the Daily Record. This not only means a cut on the channels of advertising for the operators but also a bottleneck to what marketing affiliates can or cannot do.
Impact On Irish Online Casino And Sports Betting Comparison Sites
With the new laws ready to take full force anytime this year, remote gambling operators are not the only ones who will be expected to stay mindful of the watchful eyes of the GRAI. Betting sites like betinireland.ie are well known to play a great role in the gambling business by promoting gaming sites. Consumers can generally find a casino list made of reputable sites where they can engage in relevant online gambling. This is often accompanied by inducements like casino bonuses and sports free bets that can incite new players to register for an account.
What could affect the scope of the content on affiliate sites can be found in the Gambling Regulation Bill 2022. Indeed, it contains clauses on the obligation not to offer inducements to engage in online gambling. There are equally several points on the type of material not to be included in advertisements. The main area of focus here is the prohibition of the portrayal of gambling as attractive for children. Nonetheless, where advertising is enabled, it must include:
- The name and details of the licensee providing the gambling activity.
- A statement prohibiting children from participating.
- A warning of the risks of compulsive or excessive gambling.
- Provision of support services for gambling problems.
- Provision of a statement that the gambling activity advertised requires real money payments.