Minister of State Stanton welcomes assistance from European Commission for study to support the reform of the regulation of gambling activities in Ireland




Minister of State David Stanton TD, who has special responsibility for modernising the law on gambling activities is pleased to announce that the law firm of McCann Fitzgerald, in cooperation with the European Commission, will assist Ireland in its efforts to establish a modern regulatory environment and authority for all licenced gambling activities.


McCann Fitzgerald, a leading Irish law firm will carry out a study of the current legislative and regulatory regime for licensed gambling activities and for those that should be licensed, according to the proposals in the General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill 2013. McCann’s will identify the main issues and challenges to be addressed in the Minister’s proposed updating of the Scheme.


Ireland does not have a single regulatory authority for gambling, (apart from the specific National Lottery Regulator). Responsibility for licensing and regulating gambling activities is shared across a number of public bodies.


The Minister said, “the study will present an analysis of the specific regulatory objectives and organisation to be addressed by any new Irish legislation on gambling activities. The analysis will draw on relevant international provisions and good practices, including from comparable EU Member States”.


McCann’s will develop a concrete proposal for the establishment of a new independent regulatory and licensing authority for all gambling activities in Ireland.


The Minister wished to “thank the European Commission's Structural Reform Support Service (SRSS) for their support with this study.” He said, “it will provide me with valuable information in the final shaping of the new regulatory and licensing regime”.






On 10 January, 2018, the Irish Government agreed a proposal from the Minister for Justice and Equality and Minister of State Stanton for the establishment of a gambling regulatory authority as an independent statutory organisation. This was a significant change of regulatory approach to that proposed in the General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill 2013. An independent approach to gambling regulation mirrors the approach taken in most Member States and in comparable non-EU countries. 


The Minister of State is currently finalising a Report by an Inter-Departmental Working Group on Gambling which is reviewing the 2013 General Scheme with a view towards updating its provisions on the licensing and regulation of all gambling activities in Ireland to take account of developments since then.


This reform is expected to provide for fully legitimate licensed channels for gambling, improve protection of consumers and vulnerable persons, help reduce the potential risk of criminal activities (including match fixing and money laundering) and lead to increased taxation and fee revenue for the State.


It is intended that, in the new regulatory dispensation, the Department of Justice and Equality would assume overall responsibility for gambling policy and legislative functions and be the “parent Ministry” of a new regulatory authority.



Note to Editors

The mission of the Structural Reform Support Service (SRSS) of the European Commission is to provide technical expertise to EU countries to support them in the design and implementation of growth-enhancing reforms.


Ireland requested support from the European Commission under the Structural Reform Support Programme. The request was considered by the Commission in accordance with the criteria and principles referred to in Article 7(2) of Regulation (EU) 2017/825, following which the Commission agreed to provide technical support to Ireland to help develop the regulatory framework on gambling.


An agreement has now been signed between the European Commission and McCann Fitzgerald. The relevant Irish authorities will provide all necessary cooperation to achieve the objectives of the project, which is to be completed by mid-2019.