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Everyone’s got a casino in their back pocket – Gambling bill will protect kids

GAME adverts will be banned before 9 p.m., bookmakers will not be able to sponsor most sports teams and ATMs will be removed from bookmakers under new laws to tackle betting addiction.

The Government launched the Gambling regulation bill yesterday, which will establish a new watchdog with the power to punish bookmakers with heavy fines and prison terms of up to eight years for breaking the rules.


Fianna Fail TD James Browne has been working on the new legislation for two years
The gaming industry is estimated between 6 and 10 billion euros in Ireland


The gaming industry is estimated between 6 and 10 billion euros in IrelandCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Bookmakers will also be asked to pay a new tax – which will be used to fund addiction services – and they will have to comply with a new opt-out register which will allow gambling drug addicts are banned from all online betting sites.

A new twist will be introduced to ban gambling ads on TV and radio between 5:30 a.m. and 9 p.m., with an outright ban on social media ads unless users choose to see them.

Bookmakers will no longer be able to sponsor sport teams where the club has members under the age of 18, ATMs will be removed from betting shops and gambling using a credit card will be banned under the new laws, which are expected to come into force next year.

The bill itself was drafted by Defense Secretary James Browne. Here he explains how he will meet the challenges of responsible gambling in the 21st century Ireland.

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THE Government this week approved my bill which will regulate gambling in Ireland.

Legislation will reform gambling laws and regulations. The gaming industry is estimated between 6 and 10 billion euros in Ireland.

At one time, people could only gamble if they went to a betting shop, went to the race track, or went to a casino.

Currently, every man, woman and child carries a mobile casino in his back pocket.

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Gaming companies have exploited mobile technology to reap huge profits.

The Gambling Regulation Bill will put in place consumer protection rules for all.

This will particularly focus on ensuring that children cannot access the game and are not enticed to play by advertisements.

These new laws establish the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland.

The regulator will have real teeth to enforce the obligations of gaming companies that protect children and those vulnerable to problem gambling.

A national gambling exclusion registry will be set up to allow people to register with the Authority so that they cannot access online gambling with a licensed gambling operator in the state.

This is a system similar to the one implemented in the UK.

If a person chooses to exclude themselves from gambling, this will apply to all online operators in Ireland and will be enforced by the regulator.


Gambling companies that fail to comply with the National Exclusion Register could be fined and risk losing their license.

This registry will protect those who have made the difficult decision to opt out and recognize that they have a problem.

Gambling addiction is not like other addictions in that it is often not visible to family and friends until the bailiffs are at the door or the bank account hits zero.

The legislation also sets up a social impact fund which will be financed by mandatory contributions from gaming operators calculated as a percentage of their turnover.

Gambling companies have made huge profits in this country.

This social impact fund will use a percentage of their turnover to fund research and initiatives aimed at reducing problem gambling.

Often, problem gamblers are very young when they first place a bet.


The proliferation of cell phones has resulted in kids essentially carrying casinos around in their pockets.

These new laws will protect children from gambling by allowing the regulator to enforce strict rules regarding background checks operators must perform when someone opens a gambling account.

The regulator will have the expertise and authority to establish the most appropriate protocols to ensure that children cannot access online gambling.

Children are not allowed to gamble or enter bookmakers.

Under the new laws, anyone who allows a child to play will commit an offense and will be subject to a fine and/or imprisonment.

Gambling advertising will now also be heavily regulated to ensure that gambling companies do not entice children to gamble.


Any operator responsible for advertising encouraging children to play or making the game appealing to children is committing an offence.

The new law will allow the regulator to enforce a shift in gambling advertising on television and radio.

It will be an offense for a gaming company to sponsor any event aimed at children or where the majority of competitors are children.

In addition, gaming companies will be prohibited from sponsoring a club or team whose members are children or premises used by children.

Fianna Fail has been campaigning for real regulation of the gambling industry with a focus on health and consumer protection for a number of years and I am delighted to do so now in government.

The Gambling Regulation Bill aims to protect those vulnerable to problem gambling and children in Ireland.

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We do not prohibit gambling. Many people across the country like to gamble safely and within their means.

However, we put important protections and safeguards in place for those who need them.

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