Ireland Appoints First Gambling Industry Regulator

Posted on: September 8, 2022, 07:38h. 

Last updated on: September 8, 2022, 11:15h.

Anne Marie Caulfield will be the CEO of the Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) when it officially launches next year, according to reports from The Irish Times.

Paschal Donohoe, Gerry Kiely, Anne Marie Caulfield, David Minton
(Left to right) Gerry Kiely, Anne Marie Caulfield, Paschal Donohoe, and David Minton – all part of Ireland’s government – celebrate their involvement in an EU initiative in 2019. Caulfield will now become Ireland’s first gambling regulator. (Image: Twitter/Irish Department of Public Expenditure & Reform)

Caulfield enters the role with no regulatory experience, but with extensive government experience. For 10 years from 2008 to 2016, she led Ireland’s Residential Tenancies Board, which oversees different facets of housing issues.

Before that, Caulfield actively supported Ireland’s efforts related to the European Union’s (EU) Cohesion Policy. This ongoing initiative aims to level the economic playing field among EU countries.

More recently, she was in charge of Ireland’s Capability Review Programme. In this role, she was responsible for ensuring civil service departments and offices comply with their stated missions and objectives, according to the government’s description of the program.

Caufield also has experience in Ireland’s Department of Finance, according to her LinkedIn profile. This is among her earlier experience, which marked her entry into government operations over 20 years ago.

Unchartered Territory

Introducing a regulator has been a difficult and long journey. Ireland began efforts to reform its gambling laws more than 10 years ago, but stopped reform processes during the last decade. Reform efforts resumed last year, thanks to a motion by Junior Justice Minister James Browne.

The start date for the GRA is still in the works. Before it can get off the ground, Ireland has to approve new gambling legislation. That will likely arrive sometime between now and October.

Plotting a Corrective Course

The GRA, for which Ireland initially spends up to €700K (US$699,930), will oversee land-based and online gambling. It will need to develop policies to address gambling advertising and the online structure sites and mobile apps employ.

The regulator will also be responsible for creating and enforcing safe gambling initiatives. It will be able to fine companies that don’t follow the guidelines, and implement other safeguards. Under the current draft of the legislation, fines can reach up to €20 million (US$19.99 million) or 10% of operator turnover.

Several other policies may also be included in the final regulations. Among these could be a ban on using free bets or other incentives, and a prohibition against creating VIP memberships.

Browne is ready for Caufield to take over, and is confident about her abilities. When announcing her appointment, he said she will bring a “wealth of professional experience and expertise to the role.”