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Ireland has approved its new Gambling Regulation Bill. The cabinet of the tri-party coalition government signed off on the publication of the legislation, paving the way to a new regulatory regime drafted by Minister of State James Browne of the Department of Justice.

In accordance with the bill, Irish gambling will be overseen by the newly-formed government agency Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA). The body will be led by Anne Marie Caulfield, who will act as its first Chief Executive. It is expected that the authority will launch operations as early as possible once the bill is enacted, with the GRA to become operational in 2023.

Through a modern legislative framework for both retail and online gambling, the bill seeks to safeguard the Irish public by updating policies on licensing, consumer standards, safer gambling and operator conduct. The GRA will also be charged with creating an Irish gambling self-exclusion scheme, to be offered to customers by licensed operators, both retail and online.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said the bill will ensure that the GRA can respond swiftly to ongoing and future developments in the gambling sector, and that 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,” she said.

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