What will iGaming in Ireland look Like for the rest of 2022?

Ireland is a country that has pretty much always accepted gambling as a pastime and it became legal over 100 years ago. However, just because it became legal that doesn’t mean that it has been well regulated and in the past, it has certainly been left to its own devices in terms of what is and isn’t allowed within the industry. However, much like the UK and other nearby countries as we come to understand more about the dangers of gambling and as the hobby increases in popularity the Irish government is starting to step up and introduce more regulations.

What Regulations Have We Seen?

Back in 2018, we started to see the first gambling reforms throughout the UK and Ireland. At the time this looked at how players could be kept safe, how vulnerable players could be protected and how gambling services were able to be advertised. The UK introduced these changes first but Ireland soon followed suit leading to both parts of the world having similar rules in place throughout. The UK Gambling Commission has never been in charge of what happens with Ireland and the gambling rules there– it just so happens that often the Irish Government chooses to follow what has happened in the UK. For example, following the 2018 reform, a decision was made to ban the use of credit cards on gambling websites in the UK – and a few months later Ireland announced that they would be introducing the same rules.

As it stands at the moment, there isn’t really a set group of people or organisations that are in charge of gambling in Ireland, so it makes it tricky to know what decisions might be made or what rules could be introduced. There is the Betting Act of 1931, but no set person to oversee this. The Irish police do have powers to issue permits but much like UK police forces don’t always have the resources to be able to oversee this effectively. This could change soon though, as the Irish parliament has talked of a new regulatory body being put in place to oversee this in much more detail.

Changes to Irish Gambling in 2022

Although it can sometimes be hard to predict what exact changes we are likely to see throughout the Irish gambling industry, it is likely that it will follow the UK gambling reform in looking at the way gambling services can be advertised. There isn’t currently any guidance in place around gambling, but the Irish parliament have said that once a gambling regulatory body is in place this will be a priority and it is more than likely to be based on the timing and frequency of gambling adverts as well as a look at who adverts are targeted towards. We are likely to have things like the regulation of promotions and games such as slots in Ireland brought into play at some stage in the future, much like the UK.

One thing we are going to see soon in Ireland is a social fund, where industry money is placed in a fund to go towards covering the cost of things like treating gambling addiction. It will also support education programmes based on responsible gambling and awareness programmes.

Whether you’re looking at Irish laws or those in the UK, one thing you will have seen and will continue to see is more responsibility placed on gambling operators to ensure that they promote responsible gambling and offer support for those that may be struggling. There are two main parts to this – affordability checks for those that want to take part and stopping of exclusive games that are only available to those that have spent a certain amount or played a high number of games on the platform.

Responsible Gambling

Throughout Ireland, we are starting to see a better understanding of addiction, the driving behaviours and what is needed to support those that are vulnerable. The gambling industry is always going to be affected by addiction and those that are unable to place bets in a safe and responsible way. The UK Gambling Commission believe that a big part of this can be solved by introducing stricter affordability checks for those that want to join online gambling platforms. So for example, looking out for patterns that show people are only betting when they are low on money or checking the income of potential players to ensure that they can afford to bet.

Whilst this might seem like a sensible idea at the outset it has been met with mixed reviews and opinions. Whilst, on one hand, it could seem like a good idea to check if someone has the financial means to place a bet, surely there is an argument for people being able to decide how they spend their own money? It certainly isn’t black and white and probably one of the reasons why gambling reforms in Ireland, much like the ones in the UK, have been delayed and pushed back on more than one occasion.

Irish Gambling in the Future

We already know that gambling in Ireland has gone through some reforms and had new rules and regulations put in place, but when you consider that gambling has been legal in Ireland for over 100 years it really is no surprise. However, the way we bet and access gambling services has shifted over recent years and as such it is important that there is a gambling reform so that regulations can keep up with this change. After all, no one would have known 100 years ago how betting services would be accessed in the future so there would have been no way for rules to be put in place to do this.

We’re seeing a shift throughout the UK and other places where gambling is allowed in who should take responsibility for making sure vulnerable gamblers are protected and supported. Although no one can say for sure what any new Irish regulatory body is going to put in place we can be reasonably confident they will follow the UK’s lead of putting more in the hands of gambling operators when it comes to ensuring that everyone stays safe when accessing betting services. They have already followed by banning credit cards from being used on gambling platforms and it is likely that things like affordability checks and loyalty schemes will be the next parts of the industry to go through some regulatory changes.


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