June 24, 2024 3 min read


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Lobbying Efforts May Affect a Gambling Bill in Ireland

Amid the efforts to overhaul the gambling regulations in the country, the Minister of State is subjected to a barrage of lobbying

In the context of new technologies, smartphones granted people easy access to gambling activities. Mobile sports betting and online casinos received a nice boost from the pandemic a few years ago and the popularity of such activities is constantly growing.

Efforts toward changing the gambling regulations in Ireland date back a decade. Yet so far none of the proposals have been able to implement meaningful changes. Data from the country’s Economic and Social Research Institute as of last year reveals that approximately 130,000 people suffer from some form of problem gambling or may be at risk.

The figure reaffirms the need for legislation that would protect vulnerable gamblers and prevent excessive gambling and harm. This is precisely the goal of a gambling bill that is gaining traction in the country.

The bill, supported by James Browne, the Minister of State, seeks to bolster the duty of care for gambling operators. This effort is after encouraging the licensed operators to better protect their customers. At the same time, the bill calls for the implementation of restrictions related to gambling advertising and more funds for organizations that provide gambling addiction treatment.

But while the proposal seeks to overhaul the gambling regulations in the country, industry observers remain skeptical before real changes are made. Prof Colin O’Gara, the Saint John of God Hospital’s head of addiction services, who was recently quoted by the Irish Times, shared that one of his fears related to the proposal is that it may be “watered down.” The expert said that if that happens, it would be the result of the extensive lobbying by the Irish gambling sector.

Minister of State Faces a Barrage of Lobbying

Speaking about the present state of the gambling sector’s rules, O’Gara said that it is “a lot more appealing” to operators. He said that while Minister Browne so far was able to withstand “big ticket items,” he is undoubtedly subjected to a “barrage” of lobbying in light of the bill.

O’Gara highlighted the evolution of the gambling industry led by iGaming and smartphones. He added that treatment services for people affected by at-risk gambling or harm are a must.

The Professor outlined the extensive damage that is the result of gambling which is not seen only in adults but also affects children. What’s more, O’Gara supported the implementation of a complete ban on gambling advertising.

Currently, the bill that is expected to overhaul the gambling rules in Ireland is with the Seanad. Amid the extensive lobbying efforts, it is too early to say whether or not the proposal will keep its current provisions.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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