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Legal hurdle to be cleared before dice start rolling

CASINOS are illegal in Ireland, but the Government is considering regulating the industry, which would allow the Tipperary Venue to be licensed.

The 1956 Gaming and Lotteries Act sets out the position, stating: "No person shall promote or assist in promoting or provide facilities for any kind of gaming. . . in which by reason of the nature of the game, the chances of all players, including the banker, are not equal."

Last December, a paper called 'Options for Regulating Gambling' was published by the Department of Justice.

It followed a public consultation on a review of gambling laws, and included an option to have one resort-style casino in the State.

It would also allow for regulation of online gambling, licensing of slot machines and cover smaller casinos.

The Department of Justice said last night that Justice Minister Alan Shatter was considering the 'Options' paper, and that "no decision would be made solely focusing on the promotion of an individual project".

David Hickson, from the Gaming and Leisure Association of Ireland, which represents up to 40 private members' clubs, said the minister could decide to regulate smaller casinos and online gambling, and leave a decision on a resort-type casino for another day.

"I suspect when you look at the economic arguments, going from zero to a resort-style casino doesn't make sense to me and politically I don't think it will be that attractive. The regulated casino is more appropriate to the Irish market," he said.

He said that a resort-style casino could be provided for in legislation, but not allowed until rules on smaller casinos had bedded in.

Irish Independent