Updated gambling legislation: A slow burner

It is little surprise that unregulated, out-of-control gambling has destroyed so many lives, sundered so many relationships in this society.

A Gambling Control Bill was approved in principle in 2013 but like many of our best intentions, it languishes between indifference and evasion on our parliament’s agenda.

This facilitates a free-for-all that the mafia could only have dreamt of when they came up with the idea of Las Vegas. We, incredibly, rely on casinos to police themselves. Online betting exists in a twilight zone where regulations are out of date and inadequate.

Underage betting at bookmakers and the tote is policed by the industry. Operators have no legal obligation to report transactions indicating theft, money laundering or event fixing. Gaming arcades operate under legislation drafted when Éamon de Valera was taoiseach.

The industry has called for regulation fit for the digital age but the details are wending their way through the bureaucracy commonly know as the permanent government.

Anyone care to take a punt on how long that might take?

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