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Ireland to Undertake Review of Existing Gambling Laws


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Today (Wednesday, September 28) the Irish government announced its intention to
overhaul the country’s existing gambling laws and pass new legislation by early
next year, which could see the banning of fixed-odds betting terminals in the
nation as well as the introduction of Irish online gambling regulations.

The announcement was made by Ireland’s Justice and Equality Minister Alan
Shatter, who represents the country’s Fine Gael-led coalition government in this
matter.

Shatter said plans to do away with the nation’s thousands of fixed-odds betting
terminals were ‘in the public interest.’ He said that the prevalence of such
terminals were as a direct result of shortcomings in Ireland’s current gambling
laws, and that they [betting terminals] exposed ‘young people and other
vulnerable persons to unacceptable risks.’

Continued Shatter, ‘The present laws are inadequate to deal with aspects of
gambling that they were intended to cover. For instance, attempts to curtail
unlicensed private members’ clubs including prosecutions have been unsuccessful.
The Exchequer is also being short-changed because of the absence of a taxation
regime for online and other forms of remote gambling.’

Irish Government Keen to Revise Gambling Laws

Shatter revealed that although the Irish Government is eager to revise the
country’s old gambling laws, it still encourages the growth of land casinos as
local and tourist attractions going forward. Contrary to earlier reports,
Shatter confirmed that as yet no provision has been made by the government to
forgo the construction of large resort-style casinos in favour of more
‘modest-sized’ casinos.

From an online gambling perspective, the Justice and
Equality Minister said that Ireland’s new gambling legislation ‘will deal with
online and other forms of remote betting and gaming, as well as address
loopholes in the current laws.’ He explained that it will also take into account
the ‘blurred’ line between betting and gambling, especially from an online
gambling perspective.

‘It will cover both betting and gaming under the collective term gambling,’
said Shatter. ‘We need to catch up with changes in technology and in public
attitudes and we need to do so without further delay. My priority is the
protection of the public interest and, in particular, the protection of the
vulnerable and their families.’

This legislative protection will reportedly include limiting the number of
casinos licenses with every application made, as well as ensuring that the
applicants are subjected to rigorous checks. ‘Only those promoters meeting high
standards of personal and financial probity will be considered for a license,’
he said.

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