Ireland lawmakers began reviewing a piece of legislation to provide guidance to the gambling industry in 2013. The Gambling Control Bill (GCB) would update the country’s gambling laws and seemed to be an important bill at the time. However, six years later, the GCB has done nothing but collect dust, repeatedly passed over by other pieces of legislation that lawmakers have determined were more important.
The GCB remains stuck in the mud as lawmakers are still unable to reach a consensus on how to regulate the gambling industry in the country. It saw a little movement in 2017 when it was put back on the Dáil’s agenda, but then it slipped back once again, buried under a sea of other bills.
David Stanton, a junior justice minister, promised that he would create a gambling regulator to oversee the industry until a more suitable alternative, such as what was suggested in the GCB, was approved. That was in 2017 and there is still no gambling regulator.
The gambling laws in Ireland were introduced almost a century ago. The Betting Act of 1931 and the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956 control wagers now, but both of these were created well before the digital age and are not able to compensate for the myriad of changes seen since each was put into place.
It seems that the same issue that plagues other governments around the world plagues that of Ireland, as well. Lawmakers are not able to reach an agreement on how to administer the bill, which means that it can never take its next step. It has remained stagnant at the third stage of progress, with eight stages ahead of it before it could become law.
Ireland’s Department of Justice commissioned a study in 2015 to review problem gambling in the country, as well as a consultation piece with gambling operators. The results of both were supposed to be published during the second half of last year, but, coming into the end of the first quarter of 2019, nothing has been produced. Without the results, the GCB is also relegated to the bottom of the legislative pile over and over.
Six years is a long time to wait for a bill to be approved and some lawmakers are getting impatient. They’re threatening to make the GCB even tighter, restricting the industry even more, which would most likely only exacerbate the situation. If the bill hasn’t found light already, making it stricter isn’t going to alleviate the pressure.