Ireland Nears Closer to Regulation with Social Protection Driving Reforms

Published August 9, 2021 by Lee R

Ireland Nears Closer to Regulation with Social Protection Driving Reforms

Advertising concerns in Ireland are spurring final legislation with a social dimension.

The incoming Ireland authority arrives with a mandate for social improvement.

Legislation Goals

According to Ireland's Minister of State for Justice James Browne, Ireland’s “extremely powerful” gambling regulator will focus primarily on public health and well-being with the introduction of comprehensive legislation in September 2021 to reform the jurisdiction's industry.


Browne predicts a regulator will be in place by the end of the year--eight years since a regulation bill was first introduced and amid concerns from President Michael D Higgins about new levels of sports betting advertising.


Browne confirmed a key priority in carrying out a comprehensive regulation model:

“It’s really important to understand that it is not simply a regulator but they will have a public health remit as their primary focus in every decision and recommendation they will make.”

Calling for Speed

The advertising concerns have some leaders calling for earlier legislation, including Labour Senator Mark Wall:

“What really disturbs me most is that there is no watershed on gambling advertising in this country.”

Protecting Children

Wall cited anecdotal evidence of the most vulnerable among the population as in need of protection against exposure to advertising:

“Our children and young adults are being exposed to a highly addictive behaviour. We have so many stories of children as young as six, especially when they were being homeschooled, asking their parents what these ads were all about.”

UK Review Example

Browne pointed to a key precedent for guidance regarding advertising regulation formation: the ongoing UK Government review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

The Market

Regulation in Ireland would be introduced to a landscape where H2 Gambling Capital industry research indicates gamblers lost €1.36 billion last year, or €300/adult, a figure making the Irish players the fourth-biggest gamblers in the European Union.

Global Ranking

That is supplemented by a 14th place average for highest losses on gambling--ahead of the United Kingdom, and behind Finland (€342 per adult), Malta (€334) and Sweden (€325).


The economic shift towards online gambling in Ireland cannot be denied. Spurred by more advertising, all that remains to be seen is how the powers that be in the jurisdiction implement the social dimensions further.

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