A section of lawmakers in Ireland is not happy with the delay in regulating gambling in the country. An Irish Minister also expressed his discontent with the way things are moving forward.
However, amidst calls for regulating the gambling industry, a junior minister at the Department of Justice, David Stanton, has said that he has no authority to bring in the necessary legislation citing the gambling addiction issues as a health issue.
Stanton was addressing the Oireachtas Justice Committee where he said that he is all up for restricting gambling advertisements in Ireland and ensure that the adverts meet specific standards and are socially responsible; however, he reiterated that dealing with problem gambling was not under his realm of responsibility.
He pointed out that regardless of stringent regulations, it is nearly impossible to check problem gambling and gambling addiction thoroughly. He, therefore, opined that the issue must also be dealt with by the Health Department as he considers problem gambling to be more of a health issue. He asked that the health department should focus on taking adequate measures to treat those suffering from compulsive gambling problems.
The minister has faced both criticism and wrath of fellow lawmakers. The critics pointed out that Stanton has been too laid back in addressing the issue of controversial gaming machines. These gaming machines are infamous for creating more gambling addiction. Stanton denied commenting saying he is not in a position to verify functionalities of such devices and as such he cannot question their legality.
Recently in Ireland, a new Gaming and Lotteries Amendment Bill has been approved by the government. The new law requires establishing an independent regulatory body that will also have the responsibility of issuing gambling licenses to the operators.
The European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA), had also welcomed Ireland’s move to regulate gambling in the country.
However, despite the bill approved by the government, the legislators have not been able to formulate regulations addressing the key issues facing both consumers and operators in the country.