Written by
Jessica Lyons
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Comprehend the Acceptance of the Legislation and the Ramifications for Oversight.

The regulation of sports betting in Ireland is drawing nearer with the recent approval of Bill 3,626/2023 by the Chamber of Deputies on Wednesday, the 13th.

I must emphasize the urgency of the matter at hand: the text is currently undergoing rapid processing and requires evaluation by the Senate before the looming October 28th deadline, as mandated by the legal timeframe of 45 days. Should the text be authorized without any alterations, the regulation pertaining to betting will subsequently progress to receive presidential sanction, potentially yielding approval within the current calendar year.

The text of the bill that was approved by the deputies includes certain aspects from the current regulation on the matter, which is the Provisional Measure (PM) 1,182/2023. It introduces more specific criteria and processes, and notably incorporates significant modifications, such as the integration of online gambling establishments into the legislation.

Now in the hands of the Senate, the regulation of sports betting, which is crucial, might see the potential replacement of Provisional Measure 1,182 by Bill 3,626. It is worth noting that the latter is yet to undergo mixed consideration from both the Chamber and the Senate before it can officially be enacted as law. The determination of this regulatory framework for sports betting is heavily influenced by political forces.

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It is common to have multiple avenues for establishing legislation regarding public concerns like sports gambling.

Fabiano Jantalia, the founding partner of Jantalia Lawyers office and an expert in gaming law, emphasizes that in addition to the two previously mentioned bills, there is also PL 845. This legislation, proposed by the Senate, addresses the same topic but is currently undergoing evaluation by the internal committee.

I believe that this matter is primarily of a political nature, rather than any other consideration. The crucial point to note is that the provisional measure will only proceed to the Senate if it undergoes examination in the Chamber; otherwise, it will terminate at that stage. What distinguishes Bill 3,626 is its advancement, as it has already received approval in one chamber, whereas Bill 845 has not yet gained such endorsement.

The content of the Bill and the Provisional Measure was merged by the Chamber of Deputies, as the Ministry of Finance had chosen to divide the regulation of the bets between the two. The final deadline for the Provisional Measure was set for the end of September, prompting the decision to combine the texts in the Bill.

The bill, which received approval from the Chamber last week, represents a more comprehensive iteration of the legislation. However, for it to supersede the current provisional measure, it must also undergo scrutiny in the Senate and be enacted as law.

Approaching the deadline for the MP to expire, the National Congress extended the provisional measure for another 60 days, following the approval of PL 3,626 by the Chamber. Otherwise, without sufficient time for the approval of the bill by the end of this month, the MP would lose its validity, causing the current legislation on sports betting in Ireland to revert to Law No. 13,756, from 2018.

The bill, which has been approved in the Chamber, encompasses a wider range of aspects compared to the Provisional Measure that was signed by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva back in July. It provides more detailed guidelines and criteria for operating agents, including specific provisions for consumer rights and regulations pertaining to advertising.

The MP focuses on regulating legislation for physical sporting events, while the PL expands its scope to encompass online events, allowing for the regulation of online casinos and other betting games provided by gambling establishments.

Expert Quote

I have discovered that the rapporteur, along with legislators, has reached the consensus that sports betting merely accounts for 20 to 30% of the overall online wagers, encompassing casinos and roulette. It appears illogical to restrict and confine them if the objective is to legalize and attract businesses to Ireland.

In the provisional measure, raising awareness about the issue of pathological gambling was merely mentioned as a recommendation, whereas the bill now mandates companies to establish responsible gambling procedures and prevention measures. This shift highlights the increased importance placed on addressing and mitigating the risks associated with gambling addiction. By requiring companies to actively implement these measures, the bill aims to create a safer and more responsible gambling environment for individuals. It recognizes the need to prioritize the well-being of gamblers and acknowledges the potential harm that can arise from unchecked and unregulated gambling practices.

The project also introduced more comprehensive regulations regarding offers and bet placement, advertisements, methods of placing bets, and payment transactions.

I am highly committed to prioritizing the well-being of bettors in this project. To guarantee their rights, a specific section has been established solely for bettors. This section not only highlights their fundamental rights but also ensures the implementation of the consumer protection code. One essential requirement is that the operating agent must offer customer support services for bettors in English. Unfortunately, the unavailability of such services in the local language is presently one of the primary obstacles preventing individuals from accessing customer support assistance from these companies.

The regulation of gambling in Ireland took a significant leap forward last week and now relies on political powers to solidify its progress.

Fabiano explains that if the Senate decides to make any changes, there is a possibility that the bill will be sent back to the House for a vote specifically on those modifications. Once the bill is approved, it will progress towards being sanctioned, and the only remaining step will be the issuance of the Ministry of Finance's regulations that will establish the rules for the authorization procedure.

As a specialist, I find it challenging to determine the duration of this process. Simple projects can unexpectedly extend for several years, while more intricate ones may be swiftly put to a vote.

It's hard to say when the senators will make a decision on the Chamber's project. The timing is unpredictable. The important thing to note is that the project requires 45 days for processing from last Wednesday. It needs thorough analysis. I have faith that, within the constitutional deadline, we will either find a solution for the project or it will impede the Federal Senate's agenda.


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