The question since the Gambling Control of 2013 was announced is what will happen with the gambling legislation in Ireland. The issues involves the underage gambling concern of the public. Gaming arcades, members' clubs and unlicensed casinos are operating all over the country. Customers are not being protected and minimal or no taxes are being collected. Some progress occurred with the Betting Amendment Act of 2015 when online betting exchanges and bookmakers became included in the scope of the tax and licensing regime. Most of the gambling population are still using unregulated venues. One fear is unlicensed outfits are being used for money laundering.
Major problems are presented due to unregulated gambling operators. They place underage and problem gamblers at risk and are not required to provide responsible measures for gambling. According to GambleAware, Ireland has between 28,000 and 40,000 people with gambling problems. Youngsters often gamble on school games. Countries including the US, UK and Asia have all seen tourism benefits from well regulated gambling. Las Vegas ensures their regulatory system remains strong to attract tourists. The Irish government could add 8.8 million tourists and boost their economy by approximately €8 billion by regulating gambling.
The society and economy of Ireland would be boosted with regulated gambling. The benefits would include limiting advertising to licensed operators with severe restrictions, no sponsorship allowed for events or teams appealing to the very young, no customer credit, the protection of underage gamblers by the operators and properly trained and licensed staff. A new gambling regulator would be established to control gambling in Ireland. The UK equivalent is the Gambling Commission. All gambling activities are regulated by this commission. The UK Gambling Control Bill updated laws, protected the children and currently brings in 33 percent of UK gambling revenue.
The tax revenue collected by the government of Ireland is given to the industries for racehorse and greyhound breeding. In 2017 the revenue for this industry exceeded €585 million. This money could be used to help deal with gambling addiction. The Bill of 2013 has still not passed. There has been a lot of growth within the industry during the last twenty years. It has been estimated that twelve percent of the adult population of Ireland is placing wagers. Many visit online casinos as opposed to the brick and mortar casinos. Many people prefer playing from the comfort of their homes on a mobile or computer. Others have concerns regarding the security at the physical casinos. Online casinos are extremely secure with robust systems to ensure players all over the world are protected.
The Irish Cabinet approved the updates for the 2013 Bill in January of 2018. There is no specific time set. When the bill is established, it will be the first big change in the gambling legislation for Ireland in over fifty years. This will establish a fairer environment for gambling, make money laundering more difficult and protect those with gambling addictions and the young. These changes will be critical for Ireland and need to be established.