After completing a survey, the Irish business law firm Mason Hayes and Curran LLP stated that the country’s gambling industry is not ready for the implementation of new gambling rules.
The firm surveyed all 145 attendees at its recent webinar on gambling legislation reform in Ireland. Only 17% of the survey participants, however, said they felt prepared to implement the new rules, while more than half of the respondents (54%) are still preparing to do so. The remaining 29% have still not begun to take care of the new legislation’s implementation.
The online event hosted by Mason Hayes and Curran LLP focused on the new regulatory requirements which are expected to bring significant changes to the gambling sector of Ireland by addressing their potential impact on both the wider community and industry stakeholders.
The Irish law firm’s research showed that 46% of the survey participants consider the enforcement of stricter regulatory measures the most challenging aspect of the reforms, while about 39% of the respondents point out higher compliance costs as one of the most challenging issues associated with the proposed reforms. There also seems to be a split in opinion on how stringent the legislation has to be, with more than half of the individuals who took part in the law firm’s survey (53%) saying the proposed measures are too strict, while the remaining 47% of respondents believe the measures have to be even tighter.
Irish Gambling Industry Currently at Crossroads, Experts Say
One of the partners at Mason Hayes and Curran, Dermot McGirr, shared that the results highlight some understandable apprehension in the industry as far as the establishment of the Gambling Regulatory Authority – a new regulator that is being created in Ireland to monitor and control specifically the gambling sector.
Mr McGirr shared that the process for obtaining an operating permit in the gambling industry is likely to become the subject of an overhaul that will be aimed at making it a more detailed one. Apart from that, the newly-created watchdog will be granted the power to impose strict licence conditions and also exercise a large number of enforcement and investigation powers, including administrative fines, dawn raids, etc.
About 43% of Mason Hayes and Curran LLP survey respondents (or more than four in 10) believe that the competition in the Irish gambling market will decrease under the restrictions brought by the new regulatory regime. Another 37% of the survey participants shared their fears that a revenue decrease is set to be the main long-term effect of the reforms.
The head of financial regulation and another partner in the Irish law firm, Liam Flynn, noted that the statistics unveiled by Mason Hayes and Curran painted a picture of an industry that is currently at a point where important decisions have to be made.
While there is a clear agreement on how necessary a reform of Ireland’s gambling legislation is, there is an equally clear sign that the potential effects of the new regulatory regime need to be studied more extensively in order for the sector to get more clarity on what it may and may not expect. Mr Flynn shared that the implementation of every significant change in an already existing regulatory regime needs to make sure it avoids unintended consequences, and the Irish gambling sector is no exception.
Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.