Safer Gambling in 2022 - Tips for Users and Potential Legislation from the Govt

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The gambling and iGaming industry in Ireland is worth millions of Euros a year. This shows, if nothing else, that those in Ireland are huge fans of online casinos and sports betting. The issues in Ireland are that many of the laws that regulate gambling are somewhat outdated. Some of these date back as far as 1930 and so can obviously never cover the phenomenon of online gambling.

As it stands, iGaming brands like Irish slot sites are already subject to regulation, but more could be on the way. Changes have been muted for several years now, but meetings within the Government towards the end of 2021 suggest that 2022 could finally be the year when these changes become a reality. There is a real feel that change is needed to ensure that players who are vulnerable are offered added protections. 

The UK is likely to experience drastic changes to its legislation over the coming 12 months. Let’s take a look at how far Ireland is likely to mirror these changes. 

The current situation 

If you take some time to look at the history, and the culture, of Ireland, it is clear to see that betting and gambling are a huge part of these. That is why, to some extent, the industry has been subjected to what can be described as self-regulation. Yes, there have been laws in place, but to a large degree, operators have been left to enforce standards and set their own rules.

It is perfectly legal to visit online casinos and sportsbooks in Ireland. The provisos, as it stands, are that sites must hold a valid Irish gambling licence or a remote gambling licence from authorities such as the UK Gambling Commission. This allows a degree of protection to those who are potentially vulnerable but, in the eyes of many, this does not go far enough.

Changes that we have already seen

So far, changes that have been witnessed in Ireland have come from bookmakers rather than online casinos. There has been a ban on using credit cards to place a bet, in line with UK legislation, and also agreements in terms of when advertisements can be shown.

The positives for the Irish Government is that operators were fully cooperative and open to such changes. The changes came about by these operators imposing it themselves. The aim now is that further restrictions will be set into legislation and that these will also cover all gambling activities at online, and land-based, casinos.

What can we expect to see in Ireland during 2022?

Ireland is not alone when it comes to pressures to strengthen its regulation of online casinos and sportsbooks. The UK is facing immense pressure to bring in changes too. Campaign groups and charities are all keen to see protections increased that ensure that those who are prone to addiction are protected. There is no desire to ban gambling activities, but people are clear that they expect far more in terms of protection.

Some of the areas where the Irish Government is likely to impose new regulations include:

Introduction of a new regulatory body

One of the major changes likely to be seen in the iGaming industry in Ireland is the creation of a new regulatory body. Whereas the UK has the UK Gambling Commission, Ireland has lacked an equivalent. The body is likely to be given wide-ranging powers all of which will ensure that operators are complying with the rules and regulations. This will be received as a positive step towards protecting those who are potentially vulnerable. 

A ban on free bets

When you look at any online casino or sportsbook, you will see that there are often free bets up for grabs. These are a significant marketing tool for these operators and are used to bring in regular new customers. It is clear that customers have an appetite for such offers, but others are concerned with regard to the impact that they have. The worry is that it draws in players who are prone to addiction. The logic being that free bets encourage these people to gamble in the first place. It is likely, in order to protect such players, that free bets will be banned.

Advertising restrictions

There have long been concerns with how activities such as gambling are portrayed. The worry has been that they are glamorised and so then become appealing to children. Regulators see the need to protect children, as well as others who could be classed as vulnerable. To this end, there are likely to be restrictions relating to the content of ads, where they are shown, and the frequency with which they are shown. 

Credit cards

While sportsbooks are already restricted and unable to take credit cards as a form of payment, to date, online casinos can still do this. New legislation will ban the use of these as well as other credit facilities. The use of credit to gamble has been seen as an issue for a considerable amount of time as it encourages people to gamble with money that they do not actually have. Such a ban would bring Ireland in line with restrictions that are already in place in the UK.


Online casinos and sportsbooks currently allow players to exclude themselves from a site. This means that, if they are recognising a potential issue, they are unable to play at that site. The idea is that by taking time out, players can check their behaviour. The issue though, as it stands, is that a player can simply then sign up with another operator. Legislators are seeking to form a self-exclusion register. This would prevent those who are self-excluding from playing elsewhere.

Charity support

There is likely to be a social impact fund created. The funds here will be used to support those who suffer from problem gambling. Money will be spent on supporting addiction programmes as well as awareness campaigns. Operators will be forced to pay into this fund via a levy. 

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