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Eight-year sentence for illegal gambling under bill
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15 Nov 2022 / legislation Print

Eight-year sentence for illegal gambling under bill

The Gambling Regulation Bill has been approved for publication and sets out a regulatory and licensing regime.

It will establish a gambling regulator's office with the powers to regulate advertising, gambling websites and apps.

The bill provides legislative underpinning for the establishment of the new Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA).

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said this was an important and necessary piece of legislation, designed to meet the challenges of gambling responsibly. 

"This long awaited and much needed bill takes a responsible approach to balancing the freedom to gamble with the safeguards to protect people from falling prey to addiction. This bill provides a clearer framework for operators and for consumers," he said.


The bill will streamline gambling licensing for both in-person and online or remote betting, with the introduction of: business-to-consumer gaming, betting and lottery licenses; business-to-business licences, and gambling licenses for charitable and philanthropic causes.

James Browne (Minister of State for Law Reform) said that he looked forward to getting the draft legislation enacted.

"Operators who provide gambling activities without a gambling license issued by the authority, or who do not operate in accordance with the provisions of their license could, if convicted, face up to eight years imprisonment and/or a fine at the discretion of the courts .

"Strict regulation of gambling advertising will be a priority area for the authority," he added.

Advertising intended to appeal to children will be prohibited, as will advertising that promotes excessive or compulsive gambling.


A pre-9pm watershed will prohibit gambling advertising.

Gambling advertising on social media will be prohibited by default.

A National Gambling Exclusion Register will also be formed, and the bill prohibits the use of credits as a form of payment. Gambling inducements and promotions will also be prohibited.

A Social Impact Fund will finance initiatives to reduce problem gambling. The goal is to establish the Gambling Regulatory Authority by 2023.


Fieldfisher partner Barry Fagan commented that the establishment of the GRA marked a sea change in regards to submitting a complaint, protecting children from harmful advertisements, and allowing new tools to prevent the spiral of problem gambling.

"The initial engagement for the regulator will probably follow the lead of other regulators, with an initial period of building stakeholder awareness of new industry responsibilities, given the number of organizations which fall under the regulator's remit, and the time needed to ensure adequate staffing, he said.

The process to allow the public to submit serious concerns would mark an industry first, he added.

"A range of new measures to protect children from over-familiarity with betting brands will now be put in place – including a ban on gambling-branding on children's sports clothing, gambling-branding on sports stadiums, and sponsorship of teams where children are members ," he pointed out.

"The regulator will also have new measures to tackle problem-gambling, with spending limits, a ban on cash-back and credit cards coming into place."

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