New committee to examine regulation of casinos in Ireland

The government of Ireland has agreed to establish a Casino Regulation Committee that was proposed by Michael McDowell, the minister for the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. The committee will study and report on stricter regulation of the casino industry, including Internet gambling.

"The unregulated nature of casino-style activities is a major concern of the government. The establishment of this committee is a major step towards addressing this situation, and I look forward to the report of the committee in the coming months," McDowell said. "I expect that the legislative proposals will bring about strict regulation over the establishment of and operation of casinos while ensuring that public and local interests are served."

McDowell was in favor of closing down casinos and gambling clubs in the nation but instead softened his position to call for the committee which he hopes will better regulate the industry.

The committee will be studying and reporting on:

  • The possibilities for a legislative basis for the strict regulation of casino-style operations
  • The form of regulation, the functions and powers of any regulatory body, the licensing system, codes of practice, investigation of complaints, entry and inspection, appeals against decision, the nature and type of offences, and Internet gambling
  • The role of local authorities
  • The requirements of the Financial Action Task Force

"The views of the Financial Action Task Force, which has commented unfavorably on the current situation in Ireland as regards casino operations and money laundering, are also of concern," McDowell said, "and I have ensured that those views will be taken into account in the compilation of the committee's report."

The Casino Regulation Committee will be comprised of representatives from the Department of Finance; the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government; the Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism; the Revenue Commissioners; the Garda Siochana; and the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform. Michael McGrath, a barrister with licensing experience, will chair the committee.

The first step for the committee is the launch of an advertising campaign in Irish newspapers inviting submissions about the regulation of casinos from interested parties, groups, or individuals. They're expected to present their report to the government by the end of October.

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