BUSINESS

Ireland plans to modernize gambling laws

TAGs: Ireland

Flag of IrelandModernization of Ireland’s antiquated gambling industry legislation will see the government look at online regulation as they attempt to get with the times. Alan Shatter, Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, announced the government has agreed to his proposals with work starting immediately on the plans. In relation to the online gambling industry, Shatter said, “The shortcomings in the current law, for example, the absence of any regulation of on-line gambling, are exposing young people and other vulnerable persons to unacceptable risks. The Exchequer is also being short changed because of the absence of a taxation regime for on-line and other forms of remote gambling.”

It’s hardly any surprise the age-old line that protecting young and vulnerable people has been wheeled out. We can only believe that the Irish haven’t yet come across the venerable Dr. Patrick Basham. His research has found that gambling builds “skills and competences such as memory enhancement, problem solving, maths proficiency and hand to eye coordination.”

Problem gambling is another issued challenged by Basham with research by Harvard professor Dr Howard Shaffer showing that the numbers have stayed static since online gambling became more widespread. The bottom line is that a small amount of people will abuse anything that is put in front of them. It can be alcohol, junk food, tobacco, shopping, or anything else. We should support these individuals but not let their habits affect how we live our lives.

The second part concerning taxation of the online gambling industry is a sensible idea and something they should have got stuck into a while back. Back in December, the government prepared for the new laws by stating firms catering for Irish customers without a license would face “a range of sanctions” (Stoning by potatoes was reportedly one of them). This was at the same time as them almost certainly signaling that the new rules wouldn’t be following a similar direction to certain European markets, such as France.

Current laws date back to 1931, in the case of betting, and 1956, in terms of betting. The new law will bring both these under the umbrella term “gambling” and attempt to address loopholes that exist.

NO SUPER CASINO

Shatter also used the release to explain that the long-muted plans for a Super Casino in Tipperary had been shelved because “The Government feels it would not be acting in the public interest if through the forthcoming legislation it encouraged or facilitated the larger developments in the face of such real and substantial doubts about their viability.”

No more stag-do at a mock White House for me then!

Fixed odds betting terminals will also be banned as well as the new plans including a “unified control system” that will come under Shatter’s department. He explained, “My priority is the protection of the public interest and, in particular, the protection of the vulnerable and their families. I feel this priority can best be met by what I would described as a “joined – up” set of controls.”

With Paddy Power’s status as the country’s 8th largest company making it larger then the Bank of Ireland it’s clear that it’s about time the country did something about their archaic gambling industry laws. The firms operating here will be using as much lucky heather as they can to ensure that when the full draft is presented next Spring that it gives them a smooth ride. Drowning their sorrows on several pints of Guinness will be far more likely.

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