Ireland Might Look At Changes To Gaming Laws Over COVID-19
Ireland is finally easing its COVID-19 lockdown policies, which lasted for three months and the country is slowly returning to the new normal. Ireland continues to experience periodic flare-ups of COVID-19 in specific parts of the country. Authorities as of now are still unable to promise that future lockdowns will not be necessary.
One sector that has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19 in Ireland is the entertainment industry and this includes the informal casino industry. Casino clubs have been eager to open their doors to the public but the Government has been reluctant to give them full approval since it is difficult to strict impose social distancing and public health guidelines required by the pandemic.
The lack of land based gambling options are forcing more Irish players to go to online casinos for their gaming needs.
Online Casino Sector Thriving
Ireland’s online casino scene continues to surge due to a surplus of high quality gambling operators operating in nearby UK. Despite Ireland not having a central gambling regulator, local punters continue to enjoy safe online gambling options due to credible operators.
The Irish government has also made changes to its Gaming and Lotteries Act on 2019 that addressed a number of issues with both iGaming and land based gaming. Some of the more notable changes include: licensed establishments were allowed to offer low stakes gambling options offline, with a maximum bet of €5, and a maximum deposit of €500.
There were changes made to laws that govern the lottery and sports betting which offer better protection to players. The minimum legal age for gambling was fixed at 18 years across all gambling related services.
Informal Casino Industry Struggles
While most countries have generally preferred to legalize brick and mortar casinos first over online casinos, Ireland has allowed online casinos to operate legally for more than 10 years now while being reluctant to open full-fledged land based casinos.
The brick and mortar casinos in Ireland are essentially private clubs that offer members games of chance. However, this informal casino sector continues to struggle, which has made it difficult to capitalize on the new low stakes gaming options they could offer. In cities such as Cork and Dublin, informal casinos have been shut down since April 2020, with no word on when they can re-open this year.
Ireland should look at changing its gambling laws to make its online gambling industry more attractive and better protected as it will help generate more revenue for the country which could use the extra revenue to recover from COVID-19.