The Government has published outline details of new legislation to cover the licensing and regulation of betting in Ireland.
Most media commentary has focused on the fact that a proposed mega casino in Tipperary will not be permitted but there are a number of areas which are much more relevant to society and to sport in particular.
One of those elements is the new offence of cheating in gambling which carries a penalty of up to five years imprisonment. This will make individual regulations around sports integrity, and cooperation with betting service providers of much more urgent need than has previously been the case.
Members of Sport for Business can read the output from the Round Table on Sports Integrity we held with sports, betting companies, integrity consultants and Government officials in May of this year.
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[ismember]Sport for Business has begun working with a number of sports governing bodies and the Irish Sports Council to create the right framework around which individual sports can learn from those who are furthest down the road with this and bring consistency to the area.
If you would like to be involved with this group please contact us today.
The introduction of a betting license which recognises remote betting via internet and mobile phone will bring Ireland onto the radar of a greater number of potential betting companies, though the extent to which this will appeal will be determined by the taxation rates and licensing fees which are yet to be determined.
If the right level of regulation and especially taxation were introduced Ireland could become a global centre for a business which could contribute tens of thousands of jobs and perhaps a € billion in revenues but this has stumbled in the past by fears over what might be seen as ‘predatory pricing’ within the EU.
Sponsorship of events is to be permitted with the exception of events primarily involving or appealing to under 18’s, and to that extent many of the similar restrictions that apply to alcohol promotion will be replicated in terms of branding visibility and on site promotional activities.
The introduction of casino licenses with up to 15 tables will potentially enable those businesses to become involved with sporting partnerships and it may also be that some sporting venues are considered to be good venues for the location of a premises, as is often the case in other countries.
The provision of betting facilities under the auspices of Horse Racing Ireland and the Irish Greyhound Board are unaffected by the provisions outlined in this initial phase of the bill.
Other areas of note are the opening up of bingo, which has seen significant growth in the UK over recent years, and the creation of a social fund which will be based on a percentage ‘levy’ or contribution of turnover from each operator and which will be administered to counter the perceived social impact of gambling.
The outline legislation has been broadly welcomed by the major gaming companies with operations that are at least partly based here like Paddy Power and Boylesports and does finally move on with regard to bringing legislation up to date that has up until now not taken any account of online gambling.[/ismember]