Proposals to update Ireland’s gambling and lotteries legislation

After a gap of some 57 years the Irish Government has finally published proposals in the form of the General Scheme for a Gambling Control Bill to modernise the legislative framework for gambling casinos and lotteries.  At present the Bill is being drafted and this work is expected to take much of 2014.  If the Bill is eventually enacted it will update legislation that has been in place since the Gaming and Lotteries Acts, 1956.

Updated legislation would be of particular importance for advertisers or their agencies who wish to conduct sales promotions involving instant wins or on pack competitions. Since the 1956 Act promoters have often found their hands tied by the definition of a “lottery” contained in the act. The solution used by many promoters was to introduce a skill element to the competition, offer a free entry to the competition or run the competition in conjunction with a local charity who could then apply to obtain a periodical lottery licence in the District Court. All of this caused practical difficulties for promoters running multi-jurisdictional competitions with the same packaging to be used in each jurisdiction.

The proposals set out in the General Scheme for a Gambling Control Bill provide for the establishment of a gambling regulator, the Office of Gambling Control Ireland (OGCI). Licenses issued for any form of lottery will be through that office which will ensure there is no longer a requirement to apply through the local District Court. The scheme also for the first time refers to commercial sales promotions. It provides that anyone running a commercial sales promotion which falls within the definition of a lottery can apply to the OGCI for a licence. It is expected that the requirements for such a licence will be set out when the legislation is published or by further Ministerial orders at a later date. 

An update be provided by us later in the year as draft legislation is prepared but for further information please contact Conor Griffin at cgriffin@duncangrehan.com