The General Scheme of the Gambling Regulation Bill has been published by James Browne (Minister of State for Law Reform, Youth Justice and Immigration, pictured).
It commits to establishing a gambling regulator, and to regulating advertising, gambling websites and apps.
The authority will start operations as soon as possible after enactment, with a deadline of 2023.
The scheme was approved by Government earlier this week.
Minister Browne said it was an important milestone towards the effective regulation of gambling, in recognition of the proliferation of related advertising.
“We all accept that the current legislative framework is fragmented, outdated, lacks a coherent licensing and regulatory approach, and is in need of significant reform,” he said.
“I believe that the legislative underpinning of this new authority will be essential to its success, and I am committed to taking this forward. There will be opportunities for further stakeholder engagement and input as part of the pre-legislative scrutiny process.”
The authority’s key objectives will include:
- Ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way for companies to make decisions in certainty,
- Requiring safeguards to address problem gambling, including in relation to gambling advertising,
- Preventing gambling from being a source or support to crime.
A Social Impact Fund will finance public education, research and awareness-raising measures in relation to problem gambling.
As part of Budget 2022, a total of €500,000 has been allocated to meet the costs of appointing the chief-executive-designate, as well as non-pay related costs in establishing the authority.
This is added to the initial seed funding of €200,000 in Budget 2021. This €700,000 will cover start-up costs, including accommodation and professional services.
The General Scheme will now be submitted for drafting to the Office of Parliamentary Counsel. The General Scheme will also be referred to the Oireachtas Justice Committee for pre-legislative scrutiny.