1 Joe Kelly Partner EGR Compliance Database Ireland Provided by: A&L Goodbody The information contained in this questionnaire is for informational purposes only. Each of the questions have been answered specifically by reference to Irish law on gambling, which is principally contained in the Betting Act, 1931 (as amended) and the Gaming and Lotteries Act, 1956 (as amended), and we have not carried out a full analysis of all Irish law requirements which may apply to the activities described. Furthermore, the answers set out below do not contain a detailed analysis of the law, or legal advice, and specific advice should always be sought before taking any action. Please note that the answers to the questions provided are accurate as at 21/10/14. Section 1 Key Decision Criteria Is online gambling regulated and if not what is the status in the country? Irish law distinguishes between three main forms of gambling (1) betting (which is regulated); (2) gaming (which is regulated only in very limited circumstances); and (3) lotteries (which are regulated). Betting involves the placing of a wager (normally money) on the outcome of a race, competition or other event, and is regulated under the Betting Act, 1931 (as amended) (the 1931 Act ). Both gaming and lotteries are regulated under the Gaming and Lotteries Act, 1956 (as amended) (the 1956 Act ). Gaming is defined as a game of skill, or of chance (or partly of skill, or partly of chance), in which players hazard stakes. This definition captures all traditional casino games, as well as card games such as blackjack and roulette. Low stakes gaming machines are permitted under the Finance Act, The legislation only permits a maximum stake of 3c per player and a maximum prize of 63.5c, making these machines commercially unviable if operated legally within the parameters of the legislation. We do not propose to deal with these machines in detail in this report, but further advice can be provided separately if required. A lottery is defined as including all competitions for money or money s worth involving guesses or estimates of future events. The Irish Courts have also held that bingo is a type of lottery. Gaming and lotteries are subject to more restrictive regulation than betting. A betting service can be lawfully carried on in Ireland, provided that the operator has a bookmaker s licence. Save for a number of limited exceptions, all gaming services are prohibited under the 1956 Act. Lotteries are
2 also generally prohibited, save that lotteries with limited prize funds, and which have a charitable or philanthropic purpose, may be operated under a police permit or a Court granted lottery licence. The 1931 Act and 1956 Act do not specifically deal with online forms of gaming, betting or lotteries. However, according to the rules of statutory interpretation, the rules and principles set out in the 1931 Act and the 1956 Act must also be applied to online gaming, betting and lotteries activities. The Irish authorities appear to take the view that online gambling activities operated from within Ireland by Irish based and/or managed companies are subject to the 1931 Act and the 1956 Act. The position in relation to online gambling activities hosted and operated offshore (yet offered to Irish resident players) is more uncertain. While the relevant authorities have not provided any official guidance on this point, it would appear that their current view is that Irish gambling legislation does not extend to gambling services that are located and operated offshore, even if those services are provided and marketed to Irish players. Indeed, section 18(3) of the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act, 2001, removed a restriction contained in the 1931 Act that previously prohibited Irish players placing bets with bookmakers based overseas. While section 34 of the 1956 Act 1, in relation to lotteries and bingo, contains a prohibition on taking or sending out of the State money for use in a lottery, we are not aware of this section being enforced against offshore operators of online lotteries (or bingo). The position in relation to online betting is expected to change shortly, as the enactment of the Betting (Amendment) Bill, 2013 appears to be imminent. Once enacted, the Bill will introduce a licensing regime for remote bookmakers and remote betting intermediaries (i.e. betting exchange operators). This licensing regime will apply to operators providing remote betting services to Irish customers, regardless of where they are located. Draft legislation in relation to online gaming and lotteries is also being prepared, and is currently expected to be published in mid What (if any) are the enforcement measures regarding non-licensed online gambling? As the current legislation does not specifically address online gaming, betting and lotteries, there are no specific enforcement measures regarding non-licensed or prohibited online versions of these activities. However, the enforcement measures which apply to land based gaming, betting and lotteries would also apply to non-licenced online gaming, betting and lotteries. Non-licensed or prohibited gaming, betting and lottery activity can result in a prosecution against an operator or facilitator of such activity, which can potentially result in a criminal conviction, and the imposition of a fine and/or imprisonment. The proposed Betting Amendment Bill will contain new enforcement measures and this report will be updated to include those measures, once the Bill has been finalised and passed into law. Are there any marketing restrictions that apply for online gambling? Gaming 1 Section 34 (1) provides that "[n]o person shall take or send or attempt to take or send out of the State any ticket, counterfoil or coupon for use in a lottery or any money for the purchase of, or any money representing the purchase-price of, a ticket or chance in a lottery or a prize won in a lottery, or any document relating to the purchase or sale of, or indicating the identity of the holder of, any such ticket or chance"
3 Section 4(1) of the 1956 Act, prohibits promoting, or assisting in promoting, or providing facilities for any kind of "unlawful gaming". "Unlawful gaming" is widely defined as any kind of gaming in which: (a) (b) By reason of the nature of the game, the chances of all the players, including the banker, are not equal; or Any portion of the stakes is retained by the promoter or is retained by the banker, otherwise than as winnings on the result of the play. Online advertisements for real money "unlawful gaming" services would arguably amount to either the unlawful promotion or assistance in promotion of gaming, contrary to section 4 (1). This may be the case even where the gaming service advertised is operated overseas, although a separate analysis of such activity would be required before providing definitive advice. It may be possible to argue that advertisements that provide basic information about offshore gaming, without encouraging such gaming, are not covered by the section 4(1) prohibition. Notwithstanding the foregoing, online advertisements for gaming services are not unusual in Ireland, and the relevant regulators are not currently active in enforcing the legislation in relation to online gaming advertisements. The reason for this is probably because most gaming services available in Ireland are operated offshore, and do not appear to be regarded by the Irish authorities as being subjected to Irish gaming legislation. Betting In relation to online bookmakers operating in Ireland under an Irish bookmaker's licence, 1931 Act does not contain any restrictions on media advertising of licensed bookmaking services, with the exception of section 32 of the 1931 Act, which deems advertisements that invite customers to bet on football games to be unlawful. However, this prohibition is not currently being actively enforced by the Irish authorities and advertisements for football betting are commonplace in the media. The 1931 Act does not currently contain any restrictions on offshore online betting operators from marketing their services to Irish resident customers, and as outlined above, Irish residents are not restricted from placing bets with online bookmakers operating outside Ireland. However, the law in this area may change shortly if the Betting (Amendment) Bill is enacted, and that legislation will require all betting operators offering and marketing remote betting services to Irish resident customers to be licensed in Ireland. The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland's General and Children's Commercial Communications Code contains certain restrictions in relation to advertising "betting services" in broadcast media by broadcasters licensed in the State (see Section 5 below). Lotteries There are no restrictions on advertising lotteries, operated pursuant to a lottery licence or permit in Ireland. However there are restrictions in relation to advertising certain types of lotteries which are exempt from the requirements to be licensed, such as "private lotteries". Personal Data
4 Data protection legislation imposes strict obligations on the use of personal data for marketing purposes. For the Irish Data Protection Commissioner's guidance on the use of personal data for marketing purposes, please see _A_GENERAL_GUIDE_FOR_DATA_CONTROLLERS/905.htm. For regulated regimes: What product verticals can be offered online, (sports betting, casino, poker, bingo) and what are the main restrictions? What is prohibited? Betting and lotteries can be offered online, provided the appropriate licence is in place. The same restrictions that apply to land based forms of these activities also apply to online versions of these activities, where they are being offered from Ireland. Offering casino games from Ireland is effectively prohibited due to the broad definition of "unlawful gaming", but it is arguable that the restrictions in the 1956 Act do not apply to casino games operated and offered from outside of Ireland to Irish customers. What is permitted for land-based/retail sports betting and gaming (non-casino)? Betting All forms of betting activity, including sports betting and novelty betting, are permitted pursuant to a bookmaker's licence granted under the 1931 Act, provided the bet falls within the definition of a bet, as set out in the 1931 Act. However a licensed bookmaker is not entitled to offer any gaming activity on his premises. Gaming (Non-casino) Only gaming which falls outside the definition of "unlawful gaming" is permitted. Most forms of gaming in which players hazard stakes tends to fall within the definition of "unlawful gaming". However, there is a limited exception in the legislation for gaming which takes place in a private member s club. The parameters of this exception are not defined by the legislation and these private members clubs operate in a grey area under the law. A licensing regime for low stake gaming machines is provided for in Irish legislation, but it can only be availed of in certain areas, where the relevant local authority has adopted an appropriate resolution. However, the maximum stakes and permitted payouts on these machines are generally considered to render them commercially unviable. There is a 3c max stake per player in each game with a max prize 63.5c. Is telephone betting permitted and what are the main restrictions? Telephone betting is permitted with a licensed bookmaker in Ireland. There are no specific restrictions applicable to telephone betting, but the general restrictions applying to operators operating under a bookmaker s licence will apply. What is the tax regime and is it turnover or GGR based? Gaming
5 As gaming is only permissible in very limited circumstances, no specific gaming duty is currently provided for under Irish tax law. Operators of private members' clubs must pay VAT at a rate of 23% on gross gaming revenue. Betting Bets accepted by a licenced bookmaker in Ireland are currently subject to betting duty at a rate of 1% of turnover. Is there a requirement to partner with a local company in order to be licensed? Do you need to create a local company or wholly owned subsidiary? Gaming As gaming is effectively prohibited by the 1956 Act (subject to very limited exceptions referred to above) there are no such requirements. Operators of private members' clubs in which gaming takes place are not subject to any such specific requirements. Betting A bookmaker applying for an Irish bookmaker s licence does not have to be resident in Ireland or partner with a local company in order to be licensed. The 1931 Act, only permits individuals, as opposed to body corporates, applying for a bookmaker s licence. What normally happens in practice is that a person is nominated on behalf of a bookmaking entity to hold the licence on behalf that entity. Do servers need to be located in the country (and if so what types of servers must they be)? There is currently no requirement for servers to be located in Ireland for any form of gambling. Can you provide links to appropriate regulators and trade bodies? Department of Justice - Department of Finance - Irish Bookmakers Association - Gaming and Leisure Association of Ireland - Costs Summary: What are the licensing fees? Gaming There are no licensing fees for gaming, as there is currently no licensing regime in place. Betting
6 There is currently a fee of 250 payable on the grant (and annual renewal) of a bookmaker s licence. A land based bookmaker is also required to register his premises in the Register of Bookmaking Offices, and the current annual fee payable is 380. Lottery There is currently a Court fee of 150 payable when applying for each lottery licence. What is the tax regime? See above. What additional ongoing costs are there? The annual application for a bookmaker s licence must also be published in a newspaper. Publication typically costs approximately 750 each year.
7 Section 2 Licensing What types of licence are available? Gaming There is no licence available for gaming. Licences are only available for low stake gaming machines in certain local authority areas. Betting A bookmaker s licence can be obtained by applying to the Revenue Commissioners and to either the Irish police or the Minister for Justice and Equality, depending on whether or not the applicant is resident in Ireland. Lottery A lottery licence can be obtained by applying to the District Court. It is a condition of a lottery licence that the lottery must be for some "charitable or philanthropic purpose", and for this reason, lottery licences are generally applied for by charitable organisations. A commercial entity intending to run a lottery (or a lottery-based sales promotion) must therefore enter into an arrangement with a charity, pursuant to which the entity runs the lottery as an agent on behalf of the charity. There is a weekly cap of 30,000 on the value of the prizes that may be offered in a lottery, or in a series of lotteries that take place within the same week. It is also possible to apply to the Irish police for a lottery "permit", where the total value of the prizes in the lottery does not exceed 5,000. Is there a restriction on the number of licences available in the country? There is no restriction on the number of bookmakers or lottery licences or permits available in Ireland. However, in considering an application for a lottery licence, a Court can have regard to the number of periodical lotteries already in operation in the locality. What are the specific laws relating to online gambling (please provide a link if available)? Neither the 1956 Act, nor the 1931 Act, deal specifically with online gambling. The proposed Betting (Amendment) Bill will introduce a specific licensing regime for remote betting operators and operators providing betting exchange services to Irish resident customers. When this legislation is executed and commenced, operators providing remote betting services to Irish customers will require an Irish licence, regardless of where they are located. Who is the regulatory body dealing with online gambling? [please provide a link] There is currently no specific online gambling regulator. The main regulators of the 1931 and 1956 Acts are the Irish police, Revenue Commissioners and the Courts.
8 What are the basic requirements for obtaining an online gambling licence (incorporation etc)? While the legislation does not deal specifically with online betting, a betting operator that wants to set up an online betting operation based in Ireland must broadly follow the same process of applying for a bookmaker's licence, as a retail bookmaker. Therefore the applicant for the licence can only be an individual, and not a corporate entity. However the applicant does not have to be resident in Ireland. There is also a requirement to publish notice of the application in the newspaper and to obtain a certificate of a personal fitness from the local police (or from the Minister for Justice and Equality, if the applicant is ordinarily resident outside of Ireland). Lottery Similarly, there is nothing in the legislation which prohibits a lottery licence from being used for an online lottery. As stated above an operator would need to enter into an agency agreement with a charity in order to operate a lottery in Ireland, as it is a condition of a lottery licence that it must be for some "charitable or philanthropic purpose", and typically only charitable organisations apply for lottery licences in this jurisdiction. The operation of the lottery must comply with the conditions of the licence, as outlined the 1956 Act. As outlined above, section 34 of the 1956 Act contains a prohibition on taking or sending money out of the State for use in a lottery (or bingo), which may be interpreted as a restriction on the operators of foreign online lotteries (or bingo) offering lottery (or bingo) games to Irish resident customers. However, we are not aware of this section being enforced against offshore operators of online lotteries (or bingo). How long does an online gambling license last for? Betting A bookmaker's licence is valid for one year, and expires annually on 30 November of each year, regardless of the date on which it is issued. Lottery A lottery licence can be granted for a period of up to one year. What are the costs of obtaining a licence and what are the ongoing fees? Betting There is currently a fee of 250 payable on the grant and annual renewal of a bookmaker s licence. An operator who registers his premises in the Register of Bookmaking Offices is currently required to pay 380 on registration each year. It is also necessary to publish notice of the application in a newspaper each year at a cost of about 750 annually. Lottery There is currently a Court fee of 150 payable when applying for a lottery licence. What are the taxes for online gambling broken down by vertical?
9 Gaming Currently there is no form of gaming duty payable in Ireland, as no gaming licences (with the exception of licences for low stake gaming machines) are available. However, VAT is charged on at a rate of 23% on gross gaming revenue. Betting The current rate of betting duty payable on bets entered into by a licensed bookmaker is 1% of turnover. Lottery There is no specific tax payable on lotteries. What are the technical requirements regarding software and hardware? Neither the 1956 Act nor the 1931 Act contain any technical requirements. Are there any specific requirements regarding servers and data storage? General data protection law requirements apply. When processing and storing personal data, a data controller is obliged to take appropriate security measures against unauthorised access to, or alteration, disclosure or destruction of, personal data and against its accidental loss or destruction. The Irish Data Protection Commissioner advises that the cost of implementation, the sensitivity of the data in question and what measures are technologically available may be taken into account when deciding on suitable security measures. What are the ongoing auditing and reporting requirements? Gaming Despite the fact that the provision of gaming services is effectively prohibited in Ireland, with a limited exception in relation to gaming that takes place in private members clubs, the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act, 2010 provides that a person who "effectively directs" a private members club at which gambling activities are carried on is a "designated person" for the purposes of the legislation. The legislation contains a requirement that designated persons covered by the legislation identify customers; report suspicious transactions to the Irish police and the Revenue Commissioners; and have specific procedures in place to provide, to the fullest extent possible, for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing. There are also general obligations under company law in relation to auditing and reporting. Betting There are no specific requirements in relation to the auditing and reporting of betting activities. The Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act, 2010, does not specifically apply to
10 bookmakers. However, bookmaking businesses which are operated as companies are also subject to the general requirements for auditing and reporting under company law. Lottery The Periodical Lotteries Regulations, 1961, require that certain accounts and records in connection with the operation and promotion of a licensed lottery are prepared and submitted to the Irish police on a periodic basis. In summary, the Regulations require that accounts are kept showing amounts received for a lottery, the amounts spent on prizes, expenses etc, and are submitted to the police. Over the years, there has not been strict compliance with the Regulations. However, in light of the recent focus on the use of charitable funds, the Irish police and the courts are now seeking this information more regularly. What are the software testing requirements? There are currently no software testing requirements under the 1931 and 1956 Acts. What are the regulations around responsible gambling measures? The legislation does not contain any specific regulations in relation to responsible gambling. However, both the Gaming and Leisure Association of Ireland, which is the representative association for a large number of Ireland's private members clubs, and the Irish Bookmakers Association, have voluntary codes. Are there any additional regulatory authorities or rights holders operators need to be aware of? No, the laws and regulations governing gambling in Ireland is enforced by a combination of the Irish police, the Revenue Commissioners, and the Courts. Where can operators find out about updates to regulations? Updates to legislation can be found at Updates may also be found on the website of the Irish Bookmakers Association ( and the Gaming and Leisure Association of Ireland ( Costs: What are the licensing fees? See above. What are the ongoing tax costs? See above. What additional costs are there? See above.
11 Section 3 Operational Are there any ongoing reporting requirements? Please see above. What are the auditing requirements and is there mutual recognition for other jurisdictions? Please see the above in relation to auditing requirements. The legislation does not provide for any mutual recognition of licences obtained in other jurisdictions. What are the sporting integrity reporting requirements? The 1931 and 1956 Acts do not set out any such requirements. Are free bets permitted? What are the general restrictions? The legislation does not specifically deal with free bets. Section 22 of the 1931 Act, prohibits a bookmaker accepting bets for an amount less than one shilling (approximately 63.5c). This section is wholly out of date in terms of today s currency, but theoretically an argument could be made by a prosecutor that free bets are prohibited by this section. However, in practice, it is common place for bookmakers to offer free bets and we are not aware of any steps being taken by the enforcement authorities to restrict such bets. What products and verticals can free bets be offered on? Not applicable. How are free bets treated in terms of revenue? By virtue of section 67 of the Finance Act 2002 (the "2002 Act"), betting duty is paid by every bookmaker that enters into a bet "on the amount of [the] bet". The "amount" refers to the sum of money the bookmaker is entitled to "receive, retain or take credit for" if the bet goes his way. A free bet in effect means that a bookmaker receives no additional income whether the punter wins or loses, and therefore the amount of the free bet is not an amount the bookmaker is entitled to receive, retain or take credit for (i.e. the 'amount of [the] bet' is nil and therefore betting duty does not apply). What are the payout ratios for the major product types? The 1956 and 1931 Acts do not currently provide for specific payout ratios. What products are prohibited (or are the reserve of the state lottery)? Ireland offers a National Lottery, which is regulated by the National Lottery Act, 2013, and which is run by an operator on behalf of the State. The National Lottery is not subject to the same jackpot
12 limits as are imposed on charitable lotteries, operated under a licence or permit granted under the 1956 Act. What are the restrictions regarding servers and data storage? No such restrictions are currently provided for in the 1931 and 1956 Acts. Is there a list of approved payment options? No. What specific AML regulations/requirements apply to online gambling? There are no specific AML requirements applicable to Irish online bookmakers or online lottery operators, though this is set to change with the introduction of the 4 th AML Directive. As outlined above, most forms of gaming are prohibited in Ireland due to the broad definition of "unlawful gaming". What are the reporting thresholds for AML? Though the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act, 2010 did not set a specific reporting threshold, the Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Unit of the Department of Justice followed the thresholds set out in the Third Anti Money Laundering Directive, and required all private members clubs to verify the identity of all customers who purchased or exchanged gaming chips with a value of 2,000 or more. The Criminal Justice Act 2013 introduced a new definition of "occasional transaction" in the 2010 Act, with the result that the requirement to carry out customer due diligence checks will apply for a single transaction or a series of transactions once the amount or value of transactions reaches 2,000. These limits will trigger a requirement to carry out customer due diligence checks. The requirement to make a report will only arise if the operator is suspicious that money laundering is taking, or may, take place. These requirements only apply to land based private members' clubs operating as casinos, and not to online operations. There are currently no AML requirements for land based or online bookmakers or lottery operators. Are there any double tax treaties in place? Ireland has signed comprehensive double taxation agreements with 71 countries of which 68 are in place currently. These treaties generally cover Irish income tax, corporation tax, and capital gains taxes (although not in all cases). What are the data protection requirements? Data controllers (i.e. those individuals who, either alone or with others, control the contents and use of personal data) which are (i) located in Ireland and who process personal data in the context of that establishment, or (ii) neither located in Ireland nor the EEA, but makes use of equipment in Ireland for processing personal data, otherwise than for the purposes of transit through Ireland, will be subject to data protection requirements under the Data Protection Acts 1988 and 2003 (the "DP Acts"). Individuals, companies and partnerships established under Irish law, and foreign entities
14 Reform: The DP Acts will be subject to reform when the draft General Data Protection Regulation comes into force, which at the moment is not expected before Responsible gambling: What are the mandatory self-exclusion codes? There are currently no mandatory self-exclusion codes. However, many bookmakers and operators of private members' clubs operate voluntary self-exclusion policies. Is there a restriction on maximum wagers? The only restrictions apply to low stakes gaming machines, which provide for a maximum player stake of 3c. What are the restrictions regarding deposit limits? No such restrictions are provided for in the legislation. What are the requirements for time limits? No such restrictions are provided for in the legislation. What information needs to be displayed at all times? Please see the section on data protection requirements in relation to the fair processing notice. Is there a requirement to contribute towards a responsible gambling charity or body? There is currently no legal requirement, but many operators do contribute on a voluntary basis.
15 Section 4 Product What are the products that can be offered in the regulated market? Casino Gaming Given the broad definition of "unlawful gaming" in the 1956 Act, casino gaming is effectively prohibited in Ireland, except if it is provided in a private members' club. Private members' clubs generally offer table games. Gaming machines are prohibited, unless operated pursuant to a licence. However the stake and prize limits that can currently be legally offered on licensed gaming machines are extremely low, and generally make them commercially unviable, and, in any event, licenses can only be obtained in certain local authority areas. Betting All forms of betting products can be offered in Ireland. However, the definition of what constitutes a betting product under the 1931 Act is very vague, and can often lead to confusion. Lottery All forms of lottery products can be offered, provided they comply with the restrictions in the legislation. In the case of a licensed lottery, the key restrictions are that the lottery must be for a charitable or a philanthropic purpose, and that the maximum prizes which are paid out must comply with the weekly limit set out in the legislation (currently 30,000 per week). Are there any general restrictions on how products can be offered? The 1956 Act and the 1931 Act set out various restrictions on how gaming, lottery and betting products can be offered, and the restrictions will vary depending on the type of product being offered. The principal restrictions are that gaming can only be offered in private members' clubs, and that lotteries must be for some charitable or philanthropic purpose. Who regulates product types and specific product requirements? The Revenue Commissioners, the Gardaí (the Irish police) and the Courts are responsible for regulating gaming, betting and lotteries in Ireland. Generally speaking, they do not impose specific product requirements, other than seeking to ensure that the products comply with the requirements of the relevant legislation. What is the procedure for updating products offered in the regulated market? As stated above, the regulators do not regulate specific product requirements, other than seeking to ensure that they comply with the relevant legislation. Do software suppliers need to be regulated?
16 Under current legislation, software suppliers do not need to be regulated unless they themselves were acting as a gaming operator, a bookmaker, or the promoter of a lottery. Is there an approved list of egaming suppliers? No. What are the testing requirements for online gambling products? There are currently no specific testing requirements set out in the legislation. Are there approved testing firms? No. If there are any defined payout ratios then please list by product? There are no defined payout ratios required by the 1931 and 1956 Acts. Are there separate regulations and restrictions for products on the mobile platform? There are currently no separate regulations and restrictions in the 1956 Act for products provided on mobile platforms, but a full legal analysis would be required to determine whether any other regulations or restrictions apply. This analysis is outside the scope of this Questionnaire. Are there restrictions on the major mobile distribution platforms (Apple App Store and Google Play Store) in the country? No such restrictions are provided for in the 1931 and 1956 Acts, but a full legal analysis would be required to determine whether any other regulations or restrictions apply. This analysis is outside the scope of this Questionnaire. What are the restrictions for products offered over the telephone? No such restrictions are provided for in the 1931 and 1956 Acts, but a full legal analysis would be required to determine whether any other regulations or restrictions apply. This analysis is outside the scope of this Questionnaire What are the restrictions regarding play-for-free social games? Play-for-free social games are not dealt with in either the 1956 Act or the 1931 Act, but operators should be aware of the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network's Common Position regarding inapp purchases in online games. Gaming
17 As, the 1956 Act defines "gaming" as playing a game "whether of skill or chance or partly of skill and partly of chance) for stakes hazarded by the players", it is arguable that play-for-free gaming fall outside the definition of gaming. Lotteries Again, the 1956 Act, defines a lottery as being a competition "for money or monies worth", and therefore it is arguable that it does not cover play-for-free social lottery games. Betting The 1931 Act defines a bet as including a wager and therefore suggests that something (though not necessarily money) must be risked. However, section 22 of the 1931 Act, prohibits a bookmaker accepting bets for an amount less than one shilling (approximately 63.5c) which (in theory) could arguably be interpreted as prohibiting play-for-free social games which involve betting. This section is wholly out of date in terms of today s currency and in practice it is probably unlikely that any steps would be taken by the enforcement authorities to restrict such play-for-free social betting games.
18 Section 4.1 Sports Betting: Are fixed odds products permitted? Fixed odds products are permitted. Is pari-mutuel betting permitted and if so what are the restrictions? Pari-mutuel betting, known in Ireland as "tote betting" is permitted under the Totalisator Act 1929 as amended. The right to operate tote betting is reserved to the Minister for Finance who can issue a licence to such persons, and at such places as he thinks fit. Numerous regulations have been issued pursuant to the Totalisator Act, 1929, in relation to the operation of tote betting, including regulations in relation to the types of jackpots that may be offered. Are novelty or specials markets permitted? And if so what are the restrictions around these? There are no restrictions in the 1931 Act in relation to such bets. Are virtual sports permitted and are these regarded as a sports betting or casino product? Many bookmakers offer betting on virtual sports under their bookmaker's licence. There has been some controversy recently in relation to whether or not such products constitute betting or gaming. However, we are not aware of any enforcement action having been taken as of yet. Are there any minimum payout requirements? Neither the 1956 Act nor the 1931 Act, set out any minimum payout requirements in relation to gaming, betting or lottery products. Is in-play betting permitted on sports? In the case of totalisator betting, there is a prohibition on bets being taken after the start of the race. However, the 1931 Act does not contain any restrictions on licensed bookmakers accepting in-play bets. In in-play betting permitted on horse or greyhound racing? See above. Are there any restrictions on the markets in-play can be offered on? See above. What are the restrictions on markets that can be offered? Not applicable.
19 Are there additional regulators for horse racing and/or greyhound racing products? Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) is a state body formed under the Horse and Greyhound Racing Act, 2001, which is responsible for the overall administration, development and promotion of the Irish Horse Racing Industry. There is also a separate racing regulatory body which is responsible for the provision of racing integrity services known as "Turf Club". Funding is provided to HRI to perform its functions under the legislation through the horse and greyhound racing fund which is supported through receipts from duty on betting. The Irish Greyhound Board, also known as "Bord na gcon", is a commercial semi-state body which is responsible for the control and development of the greyhound industry in Ireland. The Board has wide powers to regulate all aspects of greyhound racing including licensing of different tracks, issuing permits to officials, bookmakers, and trainers, and the implementation of the rules of racing. Are there any minimum or maximum stake requirements? Minimum or maximum stake requirements are generally set out in secondary legislation and can vary from time to time. In relation to tote betting on horse racing, the minimum stake depends on the bet type and minimum bets can start from 10 cents. Similarly there are minimum stakes in relation to tote betting on greyhound racing, depending on the type of bet being placed, with stakes ranging from 1 upwards. In relation to betting with a bookmaker licensed under the 1931 Act, there is no restriction other than a prohibition contained in section 22 of the 1931 Act, which prohibits bets under 63 cents and there is no restriction on the maximum bet that can be placed. Are there any restrictions on multiple or accumulator bets? There are currently no such restrictions. Are there are any mobile-specific restrictions? There are currently no such restrictions. Section 4.2 Casino Are slots permitted? Gaming by way of slot machines is specifically prohibited by section 4(1)(c) of the 1956 Act. However, 1975, licences can be obtained for low stake gaming machines in certain areas, where the relevant local authority has adopted a relevant resolution. What are the general product restrictions? As set out above due to the wide definition of "unlawful gaming", gaming is effectively prohibited except in very limited circumstances, i.e. in a private members' club. Gaming machines are only permitted in licensed amusement halls and funfairs, where they are licensed, but licences are only available in certain parts of the country and the maximum permitted stakes and payout amounts are extremely low, generally rendering such machines commercially unviable.
20 Are there any maximum stake requirements? As previously stated, gaming is only permitted in the context of private members' clubs and no maximum stakes requirements apply. There is a maximum stake of 3c per player in respect of gaming machines that are permitted in licensed amusement halls and fun fairs. Are there any minimum payout requirements? No. Are there any limits on time of play or any casino-specific player protection requirements? There are currently no Irish legal requirements, though some private members' clubs offering casino gaming enforce their own voluntary codes, which may include such limits. Are there any mobile-specific requirements/restrictions? No. However, the same requirements, restrictions and prohibitions that apply to gaming in other formats (i.e. land-based and online), also apply to mobile gaming. Section 4.3 Bingo Is liquidity restricted to a national player pool? Bingo is considered to be a form of lottery in Ireland, and is therefore subject to the rules relating to lotteries under the 1956 Act. Section 26 of the 1956 Act provides that a lottery will be lawful if it is promoted and conducted wholly in the State and in accordance with a permit or licence. This would suggest that liquidity must be restricted to the national player pool. The National Lottery, which is subject to separate rules under the National Lottery Act, 2013, includes certain games such as the Euro Millions Lotto, which do not restrict liquidity to the national player pool. Are side games/casino games permitted? Side games that fall within the definition of a lottery would be permitted in a licensed lottery, provided that the prizes paid out in any given week comply with the limits prescribed by the 1956 Act (currently 30,000 per week). The legislation does not appear to restrict the operator of a private members' club or an operator of an amusement hall or a funfair from offering bingo on their premises. What are the general product restrictions? As previously stated, bingo is considered to be a form of lottery and therefore subject to the restrictions that apply to all lotteries. The main restrictions are that the lottery must be for some charitable or philanthropic purpose; that the licensee must not make a personal profit from the promotion of the lottery; and that the total value of the prizes in any one week or on any one
21 occasion cannot exceed 30,000. There is also a requirement that not more than 40% of the gross proceeds of the lottery can be utilised for the expenses of the promotion of the lottery. Are there any maximum stake requirements? The 1956 Act does not contain any maximum stake requirements. Are there any minimum payout requirements? The 1956 Act does not contain any minimum payout requirements. Are there any limits on time of play or any bingo-specific player protection requirements? The 1956 Act does not provide any specific limits on the time of play or any bingo-specific player protection requirements. Are there any mobile-specific requirements/restrictions? The 1956 Act does not contain any mobile specific requirements or restrictions. However, the same restrictions and prohibitions that apply to land based lotteries would also apply to mobile lotteries. As outlined above, section 34 of the 1956 Act contains a prohibition on taking or sending money out of the State for use in a lottery (or bingo), which may be interpreted as a restriction on the operators of foreign mobile lotteries (or bingo) offering lottery (or bingo) games to Irish resident customers. However, we are not aware of this section being enforced against offshore operators of mobile lotteries (or bingo). Section 4.4 Poker Is liquidity restricted to a national player pool? No such restriction is set out in the 1956 Act. However, poker is only permitted in limited defined circumstances as follows. As poker falls within the definition of "gaming" and as gaming is effectively prohibited in Ireland due to the broad definition of "unlawful gaming", except in a private members' club, single poker games are generally only played in private members' clubs. However, poker tournaments, which comply with certain requirements (which are set out in section 4(3) of the 1956 Act) can also be legally held, outside of a private members' club. Section 4(3) of the 1956 Act provides that gaming shall not be unlawful if no stake is hazarded by the players with the promoter or banker, other than a "charge for the right to take part in the game", provided that: (a) Only one such charge is made in respect of the day in which the game is played; and (b) The charge is the same amount for all players; and (c) The promoter derives no personal profit from the promotion of the game.
22 Arguably a poker tournament that is organised to comply with the requirements set out above i.e. that there is only one charge per player per day and the promoter does not derive a personal profit, also falls outside the definition of "unlawful gaming". Poker tournaments which regularly take place in Ireland, will fall within this "exception", provided they are operated in this way. Are cash games permitted? Cash games are permitted if played in private members clubs, but any other cash games that fall outside the exception in section 4(3) set out above and would therefore be considered unlawful gaming. Are tournaments permitted (STT and/or MTT)? Poker tournaments are permitted under the exception in section 4(3) of the 1956 Act, which is referred to above, provided that they comply with the requirements of this section. What are the general product restrictions? The general restrictions are set out in section 4(3) of the 1956 Act, in that only one charge may be levied in respect of the day on which the game is played; that that charge must be the same for all players; and that the promoter cannot make a personal profit from the promotion of the game. Are there any maximum stake requirements? There are no maximum stake requirements in relation to poker played in a private members' club. However, in relation to poker tournaments, in order to fall within the exception in Sections 4(3), stakes cannot be hazarded; rather, players must pay a single charge for participating in the tournament. Are satellite tournaments permitted? Satellite tournaments are permitted provided they are operated in accordance with section 4(3) of the 1956 Act. Are there any limits on time of play or any poker-specific player protection requirements? The 1956 Act does not provide any specific limits on time of play or poker specific player protection requirements, though some operators may operate such limits and protections on a voluntary basis. Are there any mobile-specific requirements/restrictions? The 1956 Act does not contain any such requirements or restrictions. Section 4.5 Other Are lottery products permitted (please define)?
23 Lottery products are permitted provided they comply with the restrictions set out in Part IV of the 1956 Act. The main restrictions are that the lottery must be carried out under a licence or a permit; that the lottery must be for some charitable or philanthropic purpose; that the licensee cannot make a personal profit from the promotion of the lottery; and that the total value of the prizes on any one occasion, or in any given week, must not exceed 30,000. There is also a requirement that not more than 40% of the gross proceeds of the lottery can be utilised for the expenses of the promotion of the lottery. Are scratch card style products permitted? What are the restrictions? Scratch card style products are also considered lottery products, and they are subject to the restrictions set out above. Is Keno (including simulated Keno) permitted? What are the restrictions? Keno is not specifically referred to in the 1956 Act, nor has it come before the Irish Courts for determination as to whether or not it constitutes a lottery. If it was accepted by the authorities that Keno was a lottery, then it could be operated under a lottery licence provided the restrictions referred to above are complied with. Are play-for-free games permitted with prizes? The definition of a lottery includes all competition for "money or money s worth" and therefore some form of consideration is required for a game to constitute a lottery. Therefore play-for- free games with prizes are permitted, provided that no payment (including any indirect payment or other form of consideration) is required to enter. Are sweepstakes products permitted? Sweepstakes products will be considered a form of lottery where a flat entry fee is payable to take part in the lottery. However the 1956 Act does provide a limited exception for private lotteries, which are confined to the members of a society or persons (not established for purposes connected with gaming, wagering or lotteries) who work or reside in the same premises, or lotteries that take place at dances, concerts, carnivals or other such events. Therefore, many smaller sweepstakes may potentially fall under one of these exceptions. Is fantasy sports permitted? Fantasy sports are not expressly provided for in the 1956 Act or the 1931 Act. Depending on how the fantasy sports competition is structured, it may be arguable that it constitutes gaming, betting or a lottery. Specific analysis would be required, but, for example, it may be possible to argue that if a person must use their skill to be successful in the competition, then it is a competition rather than a lottery.
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