The de facto casino clubs of Ireland are soon to become licensed and regulated if the government follows through on its new plan.
Ireland has about 50 private members’ clubs that feature casino-style gaming.
The plan was necessitated by the collapse of efforts to set up an all-party committee to come up with national regulations for various sectors of gaming. The refusal of certain Labor Party members to participate on the committee, without a guarantee that fixed-odds betting terminals would be excluded from all consideration, forced the government to rethink its approach to gaming reform.
The result is a two-step plan that will begin with the establishment of a Casino Gaming Control Section within the Justice Department, the Irish Times reports.
First, the new section will register the existing clubs and monitor whether or not they are operating within guidelines that are yet to be established.
Second, the section will be responsible for creating a completely revised gaming act.
A new bill dealing with money laundering will include the legislation relevant to gaming in the private members’ clubs.
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said clubs will be expected to comply voluntarily with a code of standards and ethics, and that there is no guarantee that all current operators will be granted licenses.
“In reality, by virtue of introducing regulation, it is likely that some venues may have to close down due to an inability to meet the conditions and standards expected in a regulatory environment,” said Ahern.
Ahern said the eventual goal is to develop “a modern, responsive code that recognizes the fact that some people gamble and enjoy gambling. That does not include large-scale casino developments.”