Ireland Set To Ban Free Bets In New Bill

Published November 6, 2021 by Sol FH

Ireland Set To Ban Free Bets In New Bill

In attempts to establish a gambling regulator, Ireland set to vote to ban free bets and credit card gambling.

The new bill is called "General Scheme of the Gambling Regulation," which was introduced by Ireland’s Minister of State for Law Reform, Youth Justice and Immigration, James Browne TD. 

The new bill looks to set out a number of regulations that the new Irish regulator will oversee relating to the Irish gambling industry including new player protection measures. Moreover, free bets will be banned, as well as promotions and marketing offer that would persuade a player to keep gambling. 

Finally, offering credit or a loan to any Irish player will not be allowed.

To start the trend, Flutter Entertainment banned the use of credit cards for their gambling services in order to promote a safer gambling environment. The Irish Bookmakers Association (IBA) followed suit in August.

No ATMs on Prem

Land-based bookmakers will not be able to have an ATM on any licensed gambling premises.

All licensees must have the terms and conditions – including all relevant odds on offer for sporting events – for online and in-person players, in plain sight.

Safer gambling awareness must be promoted at all times among operators and all attempts must be made to warn about the potential risks of gambling. 

If any of the player protection regulations are breached, operators could be subject to a fine, have their license revoked and they could be prosecuted in harsh decisions.

For one person, fines can reach up to €20.0m and €20.0m or 10% of annual revenue where a licensee is part of it.

“The publication of the general scheme is an important milestone towards the effective regulation of gambling in Ireland under the new, independent statutory body – the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland,” said Browne.

“We all accept that the current legislative framework is fragmented, outdated, lacks a coherent licensing and regulatory approach, and is in need of significant reform. Now is the time to finally address this issue comprehensively, once and for all.”

Now, the bill will be forwarded to the Office of Parliamentary Counsel for drafting, and to the Oireachtas Justice Committee for review.

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