MHC: Gambling industry not ready for new regulation

MHC: Gambling industry not ready for new regulation

Dermott McGirr

Ireland’s gambling industry is not prepared for the new gambling rules, a survey by business law firm Mason Hayes & Curran suggests.

The firm surveyed attendees at its recent webinar on gambling reform in Ireland, which attracted 145 attendees. Of respondents, only 17 per cent feel prepared to implement the new legislation, while 54 per cent are still making preparations and 29 per cent are yet to even begin.

The event focused on the new regulatory requirements that are set to reshape Ireland’s gambling landscape, addressing their potential impact on both industry stakeholders and the wider community.

Stricter regulatory enforcement is seen as the most challenging aspect of the new reforms (46 per cent), followed by higher compliance costs (39 per cent).

However, the survey also highlighted a split in opinion on the legislation’s stringency, with 53 per cent viewing it as too strict and 47 per cent considering it not strict enough.

Dermot McGirr, partner at Mason Hayes & Curran, said: “The results highlight some understandable apprehension in the industry around the establishment of a new sector-specific regulator, the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland, and all that entails.

“There’s going to be a new and perhaps more detailed process for obtaining a license, the regulator will have the ability to impose strict licence conditions, and also exercise a raft of investigation and enforcement powers such as dawn raids, administrative fines, etc.”

More than four in 10 (43 per cent) of respondents believe market competition will decrease under the new regulatory regime, while 37 per cent fear a decrease in revenue will be the main long-term effect of the reforms.

Liam Flynn, partner and head of financial regulation at Mason Hayes & Curran, said: “These statistics paint a picture of an industry at a crossroads. While there is a clear consensus on the necessity of reform, there’s an equally clear signal that more clarity is required on the impacts of the new regime.

“Every significant regulatory regime change needs to avoid unintended consequences, and the gambling industry is no exception in this regard.”

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