Some of Ireland’s political parties have revealed their plans for the gambling industry in the run up to the country’s General Election, which takes place on February 8.
The governing party, Fine Gael, have committed to the setting up of an independent regulator to oversee the gambling industry in order to tackle the problem of gambling addiction. Their manifesto promises that the regulator would help to ensure that all industry abuses are removed and boost public safety. The manifesto also says that the regulator will have the powers necessary to oversee the modern gambling industry, which could involve a strengthening of the existing controls:
“We will review the controls that exist in relation to access to, and the behaviour of, gambling apps and websites; and, if the existing controls are not sufficient to prevent underage or vulnerable people from gambling, we will mandate the regulator to put strict controls in place.”
Political rivals Fianna Fail, who are expected to be the second largest party in the Dail after the election, have promised to boost the campaign against gambling addiction through raising awareness of the various services available to those struggling with a gambling addiction. They have also pledged to establish an independent gambling regulator. The party say they would also bring in a ban on loot box offers in video games, cooling off periods for all gambling customers and a complete ban on gambling with credit cards, a measure that will be introduced in the UK in April.
The other major contenders in the election, Sinn Fein, who are currently lying third in the opinion polls, and Labour, have not yet made their position on the gambling industry clear, but given the current political climate it seems likely that they too will feel compelled to propose stricter regulatory oversight of the industry.