The Irish Government has taken steps to lay out a new set of detailed rules and regulations that could eventually see public casinos enter Ireland legally for the first time. The introduced bill, called the Gambling Control Bill 2013 ran through a series of discussions from the cabinet before the latter agreed on the general schemes contained in the regulations for operating casinos in the country.
For the longest time, casinos in Ireland have operated in a legal vacuum in the country as private members clubs that gamblers can only have access to if they become members of said establishment. But with the proposals for new laws regulating gambling establishments, the potential for public casinos entering and opening in the Irish market now becomes a possibility, albeit one that will still be subject to intense discussions and debates.
According to the Irish Times, a number of issues covered in the bill are still up for scrutiny, including the locations of betting establishments and table restrictions. As currently written, the bill proposes the legalization of small casinos in Ireland with the caveat that these establishments would have to answer to the government’s imposed restrictions on its location and the type of gambling that will be allowed inside the establishments.
The bill is set to go through the ringer of a public symposium before it can be published. This affords citizens an opportunity and an avenue to express their views on the issue of introducing casinos in Ireland and how it can should be regulated in the event that its officially deemed legal in the country. The bill can’t be published until after the consultation process.
This isn’t the first time the idea of opening casinos in Ireland has been met with strong opposition. In 2011, a planned €460m Las Vegas-style casino near Two-Mile Borris in Co Tipperary was shot down by the government. Alan Shatter, the Minister of Justice, ruled against the proposal back in September 2011, citing the government’s stance of not allowing a development for a casino of that scale. “We’ve made very specific decisions in the public interest,” Shatter said at the time. “Those specific decisions include a decision that we will not be making provision for resort-style casinos.”
But after announcing these new proposals for regulating gambling, it appears that the Irish government has softened its stance on the issue and is now willing to listen to public opinion before moving forward with the revised bill. About time, too.