Gambling providers can be fined up to €20 million or 10 per cent of their turnover if they break new rules set to be introduced by the State’s first gambling regulator.
Announcing new legislation to regulate Ireland’s multi-billion euro gambling industry, Minister of State in the Department of Justice James Browne described the current laws as “outdated” and “incoherent”, with some laws stretching back to the 1930s.
The legislation will ban free bets and inducements and will introduce a new code around gambling advertising.
The laws will give the regulator and authority new powers to suspend or revoke a provider’s licence and to administer financial sanctions.
They will also have the ability to block remote or online access to a provider’s service in Ireland or to shut down those operations entirely.
Bank accounts and assets can be frozen and payments can be blocked.
Sanctions will go up to €20 million in the case of an individual, and €20 million or 10 per cent of relevant turnover in a financial year where the provider is not an individual.
The new authority will have the power to regulate gambling across all forms of media, as well as addressing the issue of sponsorship by gambling companies.
New codes will set out the times and frequency which gambling advertising can appear on television, radio, and other media platforms each day.
There will be prohibitions on the offer of credit or credit facilities to players, spending limits “where practicable” and the use of credit cards will be banned.
A social impact fund will be set up to fund research and information, education measures as well as addiction treatment.
Mr Browne said the role of CEO designate of the new authority will be advertised before Christmas while the legislation proceeds throughout the Oireachtas in order t