Republic of Ireland GRA Coming SoonEarlier this week, the Irish government approved the Gambling Regulation Bill. Expected to take effect in the first half of next year, the bill will create a new Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) to oversee the gambling industry and set licensing standards in Ireland.

Anne Marie Caulfield is to be the Chief Executive of the organisation, which will focus on updating, creating, and enforcing regulations for Ireland’s online gambling and land-based casinos establishments as well as retail gambling arcades and high street bookies.

For example, operators that would like to run online casinos in Ireland must be registered and licensed to operate in Ireland.

Within these key gambling areas, the bill seeks to safeguard the Irish public by updating policies on licensing, consumer standards, safer gambling, and operator conduct.

In particular, focus on preventing harm to and protecting vulnerable people is high on the agenda. This includes children and young people. That means introducing new restrictions on gambling advertisements. For example, gambling ads will be prohibited on radio and TV at certain times, while advertising exposure to children will also be monitored and restricted.

The bill also allows the new authority to impose financial and legal sanctions on non-compliant providers. As a result, the GRA will be able to impose fines of up to 10% of turnover. Plus, those found guilty of gambling offences could be sentenced to eight years in prison. It will also establish a social impact fund to finance gambling research via taxes and fines. The fund will also support treatment programs for problem gamblers.

Will the new authority force ISPs to block MGA & Curacao casinos?

Another suggestion made to secure Ireland’s online gambling market is blocking unlicensed gambling sites with domain name system (DNS) blocking. Whether this will become a ban on sites not licensed in Ireland is not clear. If this is the case, that would mean any online casinos using the Curacao or Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) licence will need to prevent casinos from accepting players signing up from a Republic of Ireland IP or home address.

Or will the GRA Ireland Follow Ontario? In Canada’s Ontario iGaming market, players have been left with the choice of whether they would like to play at MGA or Curacao-licenced casinos or sign up for casinos operating under the Ontario iGaming licence.

Regulations with Ireland’s New Gambling Framework

  • Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) in Ireland approved
  • New laws surrounding advertising (below)
  • ISPs may ban all casinos that do not hold the new Irish licence
  • GRA will impose financial and legal sanctions on non-compliant providers
  • Companies will need to apply to operate in Ireland
  • Focus on protecting those most at risk from gambling

Advertising Restrictions a Key Focus of Ireland’s Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA)

One of the main points to highlight from the new rules coming into place in 2023 via the GRA licensing authority is the many restrictions to be placed on advertising. This is to prevent the harmful effects of gambling on vulnerable groups via a complete revamp of the way gambling companies in the Republic of Ireland can advertise their services. On top of this, another objective is to ensure players have all the tools available to enable them to gamble responsibly.

  • Watershed on Advertising: The Gambling Regulation Bill will place a ban on gambling advertising between 5.30 am and 9 pm. It also proposes that operators should not advertise near schools, playgrounds, and sports clubs. This part of the framework is to protect children’s exposure to gambling.
  • Sponsorships: Betting companies cannot sponsor sports clubs with underage teams. However, it is unclear how these rules will be applied to football teams. New laws will also ban the use of celebrities in gambling adverts. This will include sports personalities and reality TV stars.
  • Social Media: There will also be a push to prevent gambling companies advertising on social media websites. It also recommends that online gambling adverts should be on an opt-in basis. Users will be asked if they would like to receive advertising from betting agents.

GRA Gambling Advertising Rules Recap

  • Gambling advertising banned between 5.30 am and 9 pm
  • Sports teams with underage participants may not use gambling companies for sponsorship
  • Social Media advertising must be on an opt-in basis

Responsible Gambling Tools & a Complete Ban on Credit Cards

In the lead up to the Gambling Regulation Bill review, another objective was to focus on helping people have the option to prevent themselves from gambling online as well as reduce financial factors that harm problem gamblers such as debt that leads to crippling financial difficulties.

  • Responsible Gambling: The Republic of Ireland will implement a country-wide/specific self-exclusion program. This is similar to the UKGC rules that force online casinos to offer players responsible gambling tools, which include allowing players to self exclude themselves from real money gambling. In the UK, if a player bans him or herself from one website, GamCare ensures the player cannot play at any other online casinos or sports books. The Republic of Ireland will follow the same processes.
  • Ban on Credit Card Deposits: Any online gambling website operating legally within the Republic of Ireland under the GRA licensing will need to offer alternative deposit methods to credit cards. This action is to prevent players from gambling using money they do not have.

GRA Responsible Gambling Rules Recap

  • Ireland will operate a self-exclusion service
  • Online casinos must offer responsible gambling tools
  • Ban on credit card deposits to fund gambling
Flutter Supports Gambling Regulation Changes in Ireland

Across the world, gambling companies have taken steps to enhance their responsible gambling operations. Flutter, for example, is a global sports betting provider that supports changes in gambling regulation in Ireland. Its brands include Betfair, Sky Bet, and Paddy Power.

Flutter’s commitment to safer gambling measures has been well-received by the Irish government. In September, the company announced it would introduce new deposit limits on all players under 25 in the United Kingdom and Ireland. This is a progressive move that will protect the younger generation. In addition to the deposit limit, Flutter has made several other changes in anticipation of tighter gambling rules. The company has also introduced a stake limit on online slot machines.

Monitoring Gambling Habits: Similarly, the company has launched a new “Affordability Triple Step” system that monitors the gambling habits of players. The company uses data to make changes in services and prevent losses from escalating.