New gambling laws would see free bets banned

Social impact fund to be established which will place a levy on gambling companies

Landmark new gambling laws due to come before Cabinet on Tuesday will see free bets banned while a new gambling regulator will be in place by early next year.

The regulator will be given powers to revoke or suspend gambling licences and will also be able to freeze accounts and block incoming payments to providers.

A social impact fund will be established which will place a levy on gambling companies and this will fund addiction treatment and other measures around awareness.

There will be no more free bets or inducements or VIP treatment for certain gamblers.


There will also be a clampdown on gambling advertising that will see the new gambling authority empowered to issue codes around the time and frequency that such advertising can appear on TV, radio and other media.

The code will be complemented by enforceable sanctions for providers who do not comply with the new rules.

There will also be a ban on the use of children or elements which may appeal to children in advertisements.

A self-exclusion register will be introduced so that people can restrict themselves from being able to gamble with providers for a number of months.

The legislation is understood to be lengthy and has been worked on by the Minister of State in the Department of Justice James Browne and the Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys.

World Cup bid

Meanwhile the Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers is due to update the Cabinet on Ireland’s joint bid with the UK to host the 2030 World Cup.

A company is being set up to manage the bid and the Government intends to appoint a member to this. A Government source said it is not the case that the bid is “dead in the water” after reports at the weekend suggested Uefa were cool on the proposals.

A feasibility study is set to investigate the country’s capability to host the tournament and will also examine any potential economic benefits and approximate costs. A source said the World Cup could be worth “hundreds of millions” to the Irish economy and could also bolster relations North and South. Any such bid will have to be submitted next year ahead of Fifa’s final decision on hosting which is due in 2024.

The Minister for Arts and Culture Catherine Martin will also bring a report from the sustainable tourism working group. That report calls for the development of carbon calculators to allow tourists and tourism businesses to evaluate the impact of their carbon footprint on the environment. It also calls for research and analysis to investigate options for tourists to offset their carbon emissions. The group has also called for a feasibility study on the infrastructure needed to be able to travel and tour Ireland by sustainable modes of transport.

Separately, the Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue will bring a memo to Cabinet on the prohibition of fur farming in Ireland.

He will seek approval for the Animal Health and Welfare (Amendment) Bill 2021 to ban fur farming in Ireland and to provide for a scheme of compensation for the small number of fur farms currently operating.

There are approximately 120,000 mink on three farms in counties Laois, Donegal and Kerry. The three farmers will be compensated for the closing down their operations with aspects including asset value, earnings, redundancy payments and demolition fees to be considered in the package. It is understood there is package in the range of €4 million to €8 million in place for 2022.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times