A comprehensive report by Ireland’s Casino Committee, titled “Regulating Gaming in Ireland,” was released last month. The report contains 32 recommendations for new gaming legislation.
The report was the result of a cabinet decision made in June 2006 to study options for modernizing the nation’s antiquated gaming laws and potentially pave the way for eventual legalization and regulation of casinos.
The report does indeed conclude that a well-regulated and carefully monitored casino industry can be a positive development for Ireland.
Furthermore, the committee sees an additional opportunity for Ireland in establishing a licensing regime for online gaming operators and providers of other forms of remote gambling.
Positive as it is, the report is only the first step in a process that is expected to take some time to complete. However, the 208 pages cover a very wide range of topics with a thoroughness that clearly delineates a path forward.
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern, whose predecessor Michael McDowell established the Casino Committee, wants to see all the details studied before making any changes to existing laws on gaming.
The Irish Examiner reports that Ahern wanted the report published in time for lawmakers to be able to study the details during the summer recess. The next step will be the creation of a cross-party committee that will examine and informally discuss the report and its implications for all sectors of gaming.
“The committee will have wide latitude to address the many complex and even emotive issues surrounding gaming and gambling,” said Ahern.
The report identifies six
categories of gaming:
• Casino-style table gaming
• Gaming machines
• Remote gaming
• Sports and other betting
For purposes of the report, the committee focused primarily on casinos, gaming machines and remote gaming, touching on the other categories only in matters where they might be affected by the first three. Under the category “gaming machines” are included casino slots, arcade slots and AWP machines.
Recommendation 8 in the report advises keeping all casino gaming separate from sports betting and wagering on races. This would mean no sports book in casinos, and no slot machines or other casino games inside betting shops. However, racetracks would be allowed to apply for casino licenses.
Other items targeted by the committee include:
• Taxes. No recommendation, to be decided by relevant government departments.
• Gaming machines. Only allowed in casinos and gaming arcades.
• FOBTs. Should be treated as gaming machines and therefore barred from betting shops.
• Alcohol. Casino licensee should need separate license to serve alcohol.
• Local authorities. Power limited to role in planning local gaming offerings.