Malta Raises Concerns over Proposed Irish Gambling Law Changes

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Officials in the Maltese government have said they are concerned with the proposed changes to the Irish gambling laws, stating they think it could lead to a rise in illegal gaming.

The Maltese government is concerned some of the changes being proposed are draconian and there is no research or evidence that the new measures being put forward will reduce problem gambling. One of the changes is the amendment to restrict the time of day when people can gamble, and critics say it is not known what effect this will have on players' gambling habits.

The Irish government is currently putting the changes to the gambling legislation in the country out for consultation among stakeholders in the industry. The changes have come under a lot of criticism, including a daytime gambling advertisement ban across media platforms.

TRIS Used to Raise Issues

Rules in the European Union (EU) known as the Technical Regulation Information System (TRIC) allow the government in Malta to voice an opinion on another member's upcoming amendments to legislation if it impacts the trade arrangements of the other jurisdiction.

The Irish gaming regulator will have the authority to choose which games are permitted from gambling companies and they have not stated how this will be determined. It is argued by Malta that this may breach certain EU legislation due to restrictive practices.

The Irish government has defended the Bill and changes to the legislation by saying they want to create a socially responsible gambling framework for players and to protect vulnerable members of the public from gambling harm.

At its core, the bill is a public health measure aimed at protecting our citizens from gambling harm, including younger people and those more vulnerable in our communities.

SpokesmanDepartment of Justice in Irish Government

Prohibition Does Not Work

Ministers in Malta claim the changes in Ireland that have been tabled amount to a form of prohibition and this does not work with customers inevitably turning towards unregulated gambling operators.

Prohibition is not a proportionate and effective manner to regulate online gambling, The absence of a product in the regulated market may be counter-productive — in that, in the absence of a safe, legal and regulated offer, players might opt for the unsafe, illegal and unregulated offer.

SpokespersonMaltese Government