Gambling Legislation

Malta takes Ireland’s gambling reforms to the EU

Malta takes Ireland's gambling reforms to the EU

Malta believes Ireland is implementing gaming laws that conflict with EU laws

Ireland’s efforts to reform its gambling laws have been opposed at the EU level by Malta, which says the legislation’s winning limits could violate European law. The Irish government is in the process of revising and improving national gambling legislation, with part of the proposal including establishing maximum limitations for how much players can bet and win on specific games.

The bill is currently making its way through the Oireachtas, with the government in the process of establishing a new gambling regulator with about 100 employees. A Maynooth University study conducted for the Irish Government highlighted that Ireland was unique in Western Europe for not regulating online gambling.

However, Malta has set out a scope of problems with the proposal via what is known as the TRIS process, where any member state must supply a copy of draft legislation it feels may interact with EU law. Malta was the only country to respond and has a robust pro-gambling stance with a sizeable online betting industry. According to KPMG, gaming accounts for 12% of its GDP.

Several major corporations with a powerful presence in Ireland are regulated in Malta to offer online gambling. The Department of Justice has also conferred with the Maltese controller to help designate the Irish gaming regulator.

The Maltese government recognized that an impact review of the legislation assessed there are “high levels of problem gambling in Ireland.”

Malta’s recommendation added, “In Malta’s view, Ireland has not provided adequate justification, neither through the draft Bill nor the impact assessment, as to why it has recognised the need to impose the aforementioned restrictive measure, hence such provision may be considered disproportionate and potentially constitute an unjustified breach of the freedom to provide services.”

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