Ireland to ban free bets, France to fight limiting of bets.
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Republic of Ireland
The country is to see their first ever specific gambling regulator very soon. The bill is titled the “General Scheme of the Gambling Regulation”. It sets out provisions to regulate the gambling industry in Ireland, part of the bill introduces new player protection measures.
According to the bill the following things will be banned:
Any attempts to incite a person to keep gambling;
Offering credit or a loan to any player.
Penalising players by refusing bets or reducing winnings is also prohibited, as is having an ATM on licensed gambling premises.
Licensees must clearly display terms and conditions – including applicable odds on offer for events – to both online and in-person players. In general, licensees must promote safer gambling awareness among bettors.
If the player protection measures are breached, operators could be subject to a fine, have their licence revoked and/or be suitably prosecuted. Fines can reach up to €20.0m in a case where one person is involved, and €20.0m or up to 10% of annual revenue where a licensee is involved.
The regulator will become the sole authority on licensing, with the power to grant, revoke and renew licences. It will also control gambling advertising and regulate all gambling activities and services.
Ivan Kurochkin’s comments
Although it may seem like the Irish authorities are clamping down on both gambling operators on one side, and the players on the other, in reality, the government has come a long way to finally engage in the overhaul of the gambling regulations in the country. Previously that had been written and re-written numerous times, all without having a dedicated governing body to control and oversee gambling.
Ireland’s Minister of State for Law Reform, Youth Justice and Immigration introduced the bill that will establish the gambling regulator and have it be the sole authority on licensing, with the power to grant, revoke and renew. It will also control gambling advertising and regulate all gambling activities and services.
Following the world trend of setting up local gambling regulations, Ireland aims to promote safer gambling awareness among bettors and improve the mechanisms ensuring the principles of responsible gaming and player protection.
We can clearly see how serious the intentions of the Irish government are, as part of the bill contains the provisions aimed to ban the free bets offering, any attempts to incite a person to keep gambling, like offering to play on credit or a loan.
However, there is still time for the business to regroup and adjust to the changing conditions of the market that is slated to be regulated very soon.
The local gambling regulator (ANJ) has warned licensed sportsbooks that a player's bets cannot be refused, restricted, or limited “without legitimate reasoning”.
The warning follows a rise in player complaints made against online sportsbooks, registered by national gambling ombudsman Games Mediator – that cited “a rising 17% of complaints” had been against operators for refusing or partially limiting bets.
This summer, France’s Council of State ruled that Consumer Code rules could be applied to gambling-specific disputes between players and licensed operators. The ruling granted ANJ the right to penalise licensed operators for failing to meet national laws and standards on consumer rights. Licensed operators can only refuse (or limit) a player’s bets for the legitimate reasons of the prevention of excessive gambling or if a player is deemed to be a money laundering threat.
Ivan Kurochkin’s comments
The ANJ (France’s National Gambling Authority) regulates licensed gambling and betting games (online, at points of sale and at racecourses). It also oversees the responsible gambling policy of casinos.
To carry out its duties, the ANJ relies on its Board, which in turn, relies on three permanent consultative commissions, which are respectively responsible for the prevention of excessive or pathological gambling, the control of gambling operations and the fight against money laundering.
The news is related to one of such commissions — The Mediator. It offers solutions to disputes arising in the context of a gambling operation between a consumer and an online gambling or betting operator holding an ANJ licence.
During 2020, The Commission recorded around 1500 dispute requests made by French consumers against licensed operators. Upon review of such disputes, The Mediator found that players required more detailed information on how cash-out payments are settled and with regards to wager related bonus offerings. In a subsequent report, The Mediator highlighted that French sports betting operators needed to revise and clarify a number of terms and conditions in relation to bet cancellations.
Hence, this summer, France’s Council of State ruled that Consumer Code rules could be applied to gambling-specific disputes between players and licensed operators. Under the rules of France’s Consumer Code, the ANJ can penalise an operator for “refusal to provide a service to a consumer” or if the firm is deemed to have carried out an “unfair or deceptive consumer practice”
Apparently, in 2021 the situation didn’t reveal the signs of improvement, that’s why the ANJ issued a warning to the licensed sportsbooks that player bets cannot be refused, restricted, or limited “without legitimate reasoning”.
The government claims that the country needs online betting legislation. A regulator may start operating before the end of the year. It is supposed to make the competition transparent and protect the bettors. The government believes that the market needs legislation as there are several hundreds of online sportsbooks that operate in the country but they remain outside any regulations and work as a shadow market.
In the next few weeks the Chilean Ministery of Finance will present a regulation bill to Congress. The government says that the online sector regulation should come into force as soon as possible. Earlier this year they wanted to start regulation in the first quarter of 2022, but now they have decided to speed things up.
Today betting is permitted only in official casinos, lotteries and racetracks. Despite this Senator Rodrigo Galilea claims that there is a shadow market of over 600 sportsbooks operating online in the country.
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