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15th Nov 2022

“Truly awful” – Strong Micheál Martin comments as new gambling measures approved

Stephen Porzio

micheal martin gambling

Under the bill, a watershed prohibiting gambling advertising at certain times of day is set to be introduced.

The Government has approved the publication of a new bill which includes safeguards to protect people from “falling prey” to gambling addiction.

It stated that the legislation, led by Minister of State James Browne, paves the way for the establishment of the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland, an independent body equipped to enforce regulation of the gambling sector.

Focused on public safety and well-being, the authority would cover gambling online and in person and would have the powers to regulate advertising, gambling websites and apps.

Making a surprise appearance at the bill launch on Tuesday (15 November), Taoiseach Micheál Martin said it was “long-awaited” and “takes a responsible approach”.

‘We must acknowledge truly awful impact of gambling addiction’

“It introduces serious new safeguards to protect people falling prey to gambling addiction while also balancing the freedom to enjoy responsible gambling,” Micheál Martin stated.

“There are of course many people in our country who enjoy a bet and for whom it’s part of their social life.

“But we must also acknowledge and safeguard against the truly awful impact that gambling addiction can and does have on some people, families and communities.

“I believe that, with this bill, we are taking an important step forward in promoting responsible behaviour on the part of both the gambling industry and consumers through robust regulations.”

Under the legislation, operators who provide gambling activities without a gambling licence issued by the authority, or who do not operate in accordance with the provisions of their licence, could if convicted face up to eight years imprisonment and or a fine.

Also as part of it, gambling advertising intended to appeal to children will be prohibited, as will advertising that promotes excessive or compulsive gambling.

Gambling advertisement watershed

As well as this, a watershed prohibiting gambling advertising between 5.30am and 9.00pm will be introduced.

“In this digital age, to address the particular proliferation of gambling advertising on social media, such advertising shall be prohibited by default,” Minister Browne also said.

The Bill also prohibits the use of credit credits as a form of gambling payment, while a Social Impact Fund will be created and managed by the authority with funding from the industry.

The latter will be used to finance initiatives to reduce problem gambling and support awareness raising and educational measures.

Browne said he is pleased to have gotten the draft legislation approved for publishing and looks forward to it being brought through the House of the Oireachtas for enactment.

A pathway has been mapped for the bill progressing which will facilitate the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland being established and operational next year.

Main image via Leah Farrell / RollingNews.ie

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