How will Ireland’s upcoming gambling regulation compare with the UK’S?

How will Ireland’s upcoming gambling regulation compare with the UK’S?

Gambling regulation is a matter that is almost always under review or at least proposed review. The industry has historically been one that politicians can’t agree on how to regulate, and so every few years new bills are introduced to change up the way that such regulations work. Ireland and the U.K. are currently in the process of proposing new regulations for the industry as a whole and the level of its individual parts. Today, we’re going to compare these two countries and see what the upcoming regulation means for both nations.

Ireland’s upcoming gambling regulations

Introduced and published in December of 2022, the Gambling Regulation Bill is the biggest change to Ireland’s gambling laws which is currently taking effect and being implemented across the country. This law is set to repeal large parts of established precedent around gambling law, and parliament believes it will be fully enacted into law by the end of 2023.

The bill will bring in new forms of licenses for most types of gambling operations, like in-person, online gaming, betting and commercial lotteries. This also includes bingo. B2B licenses will also come into effect for aspects of the industry such as providing gaming services to operators.

One of the main areas of gambling in Ireland which will be affected by this is online casinos. What regulators hope this will achieve, among other things, is a higher standard in software and equipment. Aspects of online gaming in casinos like odds, hosting services, support and maintenance, measures for safeguarding like risk management, and the long term upgrading of software. Online casinos and slot sites of course must already adhere to a strict standard, but this law hopes to make operators more responsible with the services they provide to customers.

One key focus of the legislation, on the same token, is the protection of players. Maximum stakes and prize limits will be introduced for certain casino games, and operators will be required to ensure players set limits on the time and money they spend on gambling.

Let’s turn now to the UK’s new regulations.

UK’s upcoming gambling regulations

The overall focus of upcoming gambling regulation in the UK is largely the same. There is a growing emphasis on protecting players on the whole, before they even become problem gamblers. Bills have been in review for a good while, but some of the proposed changes to the UK regulations include statutory levies on gambling firms. In the past, levies of this kind have been voluntary—many hope this will make gambling operators more accountable to the government and people. These levies are used on a voluntary level to fund research into treatment on harmful gambling.

Many in the UK are also proposing affordability checks for those looking to start gambling. The precise level at which these would work is difficult to say now, but the idea is that you restrict the poorest from gambling in an attempt to protect their money.

Online casinos are also under heavy review in UK law. Again, stake limits would be introduced on online slots, and could be as low as £2 per bet. Casino games like online slots have always been under heavy scrutiny due to their addictive nature. By introducing these stake limits, you can again protect people from spending more money than they realize.

Advertising and marketing have always been among the most heavily regulated aspects of the industry. Particularly, the Premier League is expected to enter into a deal restricting teams entirely from being sponsored by online betting companies. Reducing the visibility of gambling marketing is an important step in the right direction.

So, how do these two different sets of proposed regulations compare?

How the two compare

Plainly, a lot of the areas of focus in both the UK and Ireland are comparable. Problem gambling, and reducing its social effects, are the primary focus. Ireland has the third highest gambling loss per person in the world, and in the UK problem gamblers are, on average, around £10,000 in debt before they start to look for help.

While help and support are great for these people, regulating the industry to stop them from getting to this point in the first place is infinitely more effective. Both Ireland and the UK are plainly interested in putting greater pressure on operators to be responsible.

Gambling is a huge part of Ireland’s economy, and so few wish to regulate it too heavily. However, plainly, as in any country, gambling can be a huge problem for a minority of people. As in virtually any industry, the gambling sector will not regulate itself—the governments will have to step in. Hopefully, the proposed and upcoming changes to the regulation will be a move in the right direction, and indeed both Ireland and the UK seem to be taking pointers from one another.