A total ban will be imposed on gambling advertising on social media and there will be criminal sanctions for gambling companies who fail to protect children and vulnerable consumers under tough laws approved by Cabinet last month. Terms of imprisonment of up to eight years can be imposed on the senior management of gambling companies that fail to follow the provisions of the Gambling Regulation Bill.

The proposed Bill is the most far reaching and comprehensive legislation to regulate gambling in the history of the State and will fundamentally change the rules of gambling in Ireland, both physical gambling and the growing online industry.

As well as setting up a Gambling Regulatory Authority, the legislation will introduce a range of sweeping measures to protect consumers, problem gamblers, and vulnerable users, especially children.

Speaking at a press conference, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the bill would put in place, “A series of safeguards to protect people from falling prey to gambling addiction. There are, of course, many people in our country will enjoy a bet and for whom it’s part of their social life. But we must also acknowledge and safeguard against the truly awful impact that gambling addiction can and does have on some families and communities.”

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee added: “Something that I’ve seen more and more in my constituency in recent years is the age at which people are becoming addicted.

“It doesn’t just impact the individual themselves, but it can have huge ramifications for their family, their extended family as well, because so often people want to help and want to be able to help that individual get over the financial burdens that they’re landed with.”

An essential component of the new Bill is a new Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland which will have extensive powers to ensure protection for consumers. Anne Marie Caulfield has already been appointed as chief executive to begin work on establishing the authority.

In addition to a ban on gambling advertising on social media, there will be a total ban on any advertising on TV or online between the hours of 5.30am and 9pm each day. This is to ensure that children are not exposed to gambling. This includes advertising carried on satellite carriers such as Sky Sports.

Campaigners have long said the industry cannot be allowed to self-regulate, and that Ireland should introduce legislation to regulate an industry that has seen revenues skyrocket in recent decades.


NB – This is a guide for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have an issue requiring legal advice, please contact any of the team at Nolan Farrell & Goff LLP, whose numbers can be found on our website www.nfg.ie, or email info@nfg.ie.