The Government has approved the publication of the Gambling Regulation Bill, paving the way for the creation of the new Gambling Regulatory Authority.
The independent regulator will cover both online and in-person gambling, with advertising, gambling websites and apps all contained within its remit.
The Bill also seeks to streamline gambling licensing activities, replacing the old system with three types of licences; business to consumer gaming, betting and lottery licences, business to business licences, and gambling licences for charitable.philanthropic causes.
The Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland is due to operational next year.
Welcoming the Bill’s approval, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said it was “unquestionably a major milestone”.
“It is an important and necessary piece of legislation, designed to meet the challenges of gambling responsibly in 21st century Ireland.
“This long awaited and much needed Bill takes a responsible approach to balancing the freedom to gamble with the safeguards to protect people from falling prey to addiction,” he added.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said the Bill will allow the Gambling Regulatory Authority to “appropriately, meaningfully and swiftly respond to ongoing and future developments in the gambling sector”, adding: “The focus on preventing harm is of vital importance.”
“As a former Minister of Mental Health and as a local representative, I have seen the damaging impact gambling addiction can have on people and families, particularly on their mental health,” Ms McEntee said.