New Irish Gambling Laws Stifle Advertising
The popularity of online casinos around the world has become undeniable, leading many governments to rethink their laws and regulations. Just this week, the Irish Government signed a new Gambling Regulation Bill to reflect these new developments.
The Irish have long been very active gamblers. While the Irish Gaming and Lotteries Act would technically ban land-based casinos already in 1956, there are still a few loopholes that allow such places to exist—as long as customers become members of private clubs first. Online casinos, too, are extremely popular in the country of green-clad Leprechauns and ever-flowing beer.
Unsurprisingly, the new Gambling Regulation Bill signed by the Irish Government has been put in place to provide more regulation on the international online gambling industry. From now on, gambling advertising will be prohibited between 5.30 am and 9 pm. This means that mostly only so-called night owls (or adults) will be allowed to see such marketing material from now on.
On top of these advertising changes, a new Gambling Regulator Authority will be established in an attempt to overhaul licensing laws and presumably bring in some form of additional tax revenue. The plan is to have said authority up and running next year in 2023.
James Browne, who is currently serving as the Minister of State, would go on to state that advertising aimed at children and problem gamblers will be banned. Moreover, placing ATMs next to gambling establishments and allowing credit card betting will also be disallowed.
Failure to abide by the new rules will be met with harsh punishments. For instance, operating without a proper license can carry a sentence of up to 8 years in prison. A so-called social impact fund will also be set up to finance gambling problem research and treatment.
Minister of Justice Helen McEntee said the following:
”As a former Minister of Mental Health and as a local representative, I have seen the damaging impact gambling addiction can have on people and families, particularly on their mental health.”
Barry Grant, the CEO of Problem Gambling Ireland touted the new legislation as ”hugely significant”, calling the day ”a great day”. According to Grant, gambling should be treated in the same vein as other addictive products such as alcohol and cigarettes.
Perhaps to many people’s surprise, a prominent Irish gambling entity, The Irish Bookmakers Association, would also welcome the new Gambling Regulation Bill, applauding its ”clear commitment to establishing regulation” and ”covering gambling online and in person”.
The world of gambling remains in flux.
Personally, as a fan of both land-based and online casino gambling, it is always good to see new laws that not so much prohibit but more so enhance the overall gambling experience. Since children are not allowed to gamble or smoke, leaving such advertising time for late-night viewers makes perfect sense. Furthermore, gambling is supposed to be fun, so no ATMs should be needed right next to gambling venues. The more people are encouraged to plan their gambling instead of just going with the flow, the less excessive gambling there should be.
Curbing problem gambling without ruining the overall experience for modest players should be in everyone’s best interest!