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The European Gaming & Betting Association has welcomed the news that the Republic of Ireland will soon have its first-ever dedicated gambling regulator. We have covered this recently. However, the EGBA raises concerns over proposals to ban free bets. Members of the Association believe that it will push a section of customers to unlicensed gambling websites.

EGBA secretary general Maarten Haijer claims that he praises the decision of Ireland to establish the regulator as it will allow local operators to understand the rules better. The EGBA can share the experiences of other European jurisdictions. The Republic of Ireland remains one of the two European countries that do not have dedicated betting legislation. The legislative process is expected to take 12 months.


Ivan Kurochkin’s comments

The positive impact of the creation of the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland is hardly debatable and should promote the proper development of the gambling business in Ireland in a more productive way. A separate authority consisting of experts in gambling will be more immersed in the problems of the industry, which in turn should help to fine-tune gambling regulations.

We can observe the Irish legislators leapfrogging years of gambling regulation in a great number of countries, but at the same time they take such major decisions as prohibiting play on credit and thus pursuing higher standards of player protection. The measure is not new and is used in many countries with developed gambling markets.

However, the ban on free bets is quite a contentious topic as it is quite an effective marketing tool for player acquisition, as well as retention, used by almost all gambling operators.

Despite the fact that such a ban can have a negative impact on licensed operators, several countries have adopted such a ban (Lithuania for example) or in some way limited the number of free bets (Sweden for example) or the countries where the citizens signed a petition to impose a ban on free bets (such as the UK).

In our opinion, Ireland should try to implement all the measures outlined in their gambling bill, yet find a balance between the expectations of gambling operators and players alike.


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