Yes Minister: Launch of Ireland’s New Gambling Regulator Delayed

Author Thomas Wolf
September 23, 2020 3 min read

This week, Irish Justice Minister Helen McEntee confirmed that the new regulator promised in last year’s gambling act reforms would be delayed until at least 2021.

Ireland’s gambling act was last, partially, updated in 1956—with most of it written in 1931. With nearly three-quarters of a century in between updates, we’re sure a year or so more won’t make a significant difference.

Nevertheless, it’s disappointing to see a delay. A new regulatory body could provide much-needed clarity to gambling operators serving Irish customers.

“Work is currently underway in my department, on the development of the legislation to provide for the necessary modern licensing and regulatory provisions for the Irish gambling industry. I hope to bring proposals in that regard to the Government next year”

Ms. McEntee

No Support

The Irish have long ranked among the world’s biggest gamblers despite the country’s loose licensing conditions and no clear regulations. This means a lack of state- or operator-funded support for problem gamblers, as well as no national self-exclusion register, like the UK’s GamStop.

There was a famous book in the country just a few short years ago entitled Tony 10. It followed the real-life tale of Irish postman Tony O’Reilly who was allowed to gamble an astonishing €10 million ($11.8 million) over ten years.

To make things worse, €1.5 million of that money was stolen from his post office employer.

This highlights another problem Ireland’s politicians have—anti-money laundering practices. Almost any casino with a Maltese or UK license, two of the most popular in Europe, would have had to ask Mr. O’Reilly to prove where he obtained the funds for his huge gambling spend.

Not so in Ireland, without adequate legislation.

This situation has seen past and current governments fail to act in a timely manner, with one gambling bill proposed way back in 2013.

Missed Deadlines

Given the unexpected arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic that has torn through the world’s economic prospects for the next few years, you can hardly blame Dáil Éireann (Irish Parliament) for the delay.

In fact, it’s not the only country to delay gambling-related laws recently.

The Netherlands just last week announced it would also postpone the launch of its entirely new regulated market, which is now set to open in September 2021—hopefully after the Irish get their act sorted.

“Given the size, complexity, and technological development of the modern gambling industry and having regard to the outdated and complex arrangements, it will be important that the regulator will be established on a strong footing and adequately resourced to carry out this important task,” Ms. McEntee finished in her letter.

The new regulation, hopefully enshrined into law next year, will add a host of measures that operators in many other countries are already familiar with.

Mandatory options to set up deposit limits. A percentage of profits to be put towards problem gambling help and awareness charities. Maximum prizes. Session time reminders.

So far, so standard.

We’ll see if the Irish parliament adds anything to these laws as it waits to be enshrined once the new regulator comes online in 2021.

We’ll keep you updated on this story as it develops, along with loads of other top gambling news stories from around the globe at

Author Thomas Wolf


Thomas Wolf

384 articles

Thomas Wolf is our editor in chief. With an extensive background in online gambling (both working for casino operators and game studios) as well as an MBA from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, he's a proper authority on online casinos. When not running the day to day operations or reviewing new operators Thomas is a blackjack aficionado with some seriously big wins recorded at land-based casinos in both Las Vegas, Monaco and Macau.

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Ireland’s New Gambling Regulator Delayed