2013 Gambling Control Bill will serve as a precursor to new legislation for both online and offline gambling.
Changes in gaming legislation is prevalent throughout Europe and a great deal of confusion arises between EU member states when it comes to gambling (particularly in the online space where laws established by the European Commission are not always aligned with the varying laws of each nation, whose legislation, in turn, are also not necessarily matched).
The same is true for Ireland where the gambling scene requires some landscaping. This, according to J.J. Woods, in an article he wrote for Infinity Gaming, in which he discusses the 2013 Gambling Control Bill, which was announced by Ireland’s Minister for Justice, Equality and Defense, Alan Shatter TD, on the 15th of July.
According to Woods, who explains that gambling laws in Ireland are based on the Betting Act of 1931 and the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956, “The Acts are archaic by any standards and they fall way behind one of the fastest growing industries in the world.”
The size of the industry is certainly true for online gaming in Europe which has an annual growth rate of almost 15% and expected EU revenues of 13 billion Euros in 2015 – not small numbers when we consider both the revenue for operators and taxation potential for governments.
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The bill will deal with all areas of gambling including slot arcades & amusement centers, slot machines & fixed odds betting, private members clubs & casinos and of course, online or “remote” gambling. The aim is that it will lead to legislation applicable to gaming entities throughout Ireland, even those that do not target or reach Irish end-users and will establish a regulating body called the Office for Gambling Control Ireland (OGCI).
While Woods recognizes the need for the bill and for the volition of the Gambling industry in Ireland, He also notes that there are many flaws to be found in it and that revision is required. He says that it is overly restrictive and: “bearing in mind that Ireland has ignored this industry for such a long time, making us one of the last countries to legislate, we might well find that to be competitive, we may have to offer tax incentives just to get the industry off the ground.”
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