Ireland Mulls Over Legal Gambling Age Increase and Gaming Machines’ Stakes Cut

Ireland Mulls Over Legal Gambling Age Increase and Gaming Machines’ Stakes Cut

Posted at: 29 November 2019

The Irish Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan put forward a number of amendments to the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956. The Gaming and Lotteries Bill 2019 proposes a €5 max stake on gaming machines and a legal gambling age increase by 2 years.

Currently, the proposal is being reviewed by the Oireachtas. If it is passed into law, the maximum stake on gaming machines will be €5 and the maximum payout will be set at €500. Up to date, players aged 16, are allowed to place bets. If the law amendments are approved, they will be prohibited from participating in gambling activities before they turn 18 years.

As for the max stakes, the Government has previously suggested a €10 max stake and €750 max win, but now, the Parliament is asking for further reduction in an attempt to combat the excessive gambling issues.

According to speculations circulating across the media, the proposed amendments are likely to come into force by mid-2020. From 2020, the Irish bookmakers will also be granted a tax relief of up to €50,000 from the 2% turnover tax.

The Irish government followed the example of the UK and took measures to combat excessive gambling. In April 2019, the UK reduced the FOBT max stake from £100 to £2, which led to a massive outcry and hundreds of betting shop closures. The operators in Northern Ireland however, voluntarily agreed on a FOBT stake cut to £2.

The above amendments come after pressure from lobby groups that have expressed their fears that little is done towards dealing with problem gambling. As a result, the Government of Northern Ireland launched a public consultation. The results are expected to provide insights on the problem gambling issues and the amendments that need to be implemented.

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