The Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Act 2019 (“the Act”) will come into operation on 1st December 2020.
The Act will update current legislation, which is seen by many as ‘out of date’, and is generally regarded as an interim measure pending a more comprehensive reform of the law in relation to gambling.
Here are some of the key feature of the Act:
A Superintendent of An Garda Síochána can issue a ‘gaming permit’ for gaming which takes place on a premises.
When considering an application for a gaming permit, the Superintendent shall have regard to the following:
- the character of the applicant, or in the case of a body corporate, of the persons exercising control and management over the body corporate;
- the number of gaming permits already issued in the locality;
- the suitability of the premises or place proposed to be used;
- the type of gaming that is proposed; and
- whether the gaming activity is for a charitable or philanthropic purpose.
If granted, the gaming permit must state the maximum state is €10 for each player and that no player may win more than €3,000 in each game. Where more than one game is conducted at the same time, the total value of the prizes shall not be more than €3,000.
A person who holds a gaming permit shall not accept a stake from a person under the age of 18 years.
Where the maximum stake is not more than €5 for each player and no player can win more than €500 in each game, a gaming licence is required. Gaming Licences are issued by The Revenue Commissioners.
The Revenue Commissioners must create and maintain a register of gaming licenses.
A Superintendent of An Garda Síochána can still issue lottery permits for a lottery where the prize limit does not exceed €5,000. Where more than one lottery is held in one week, the collective prize limit cannot exceed €5,000. The cost of each lottery ticket cannot exceed €10.
Where the lottery is held for the benefit of a charitable organisation, not more than 5% of the total proceeds of the lottery shall be retained by the holder of a lottery permit.
The notice period be to be given to the Superintendent of An Garda Síochána is 60 days. In considering an application under this section for a lottery permit, the Superintendent shall have regard to the following:
- the character of the applicant, or in the case of a body corporate, of the persons exercising control and management thereof;
- the number of lottery permits already issued in the locality; and
- the suitability of the premises (if any) proposed to be used.
A person who holds a lottery permit shall not accept a stake from a person under the age of 18 years. To do so is an offence, unless the person charged believed or had reasonable cause to believe that the person was over the age of 18.
The District Court will continue to issue lottery licences for lotteries where the total value of the prizes in a week does not exceed €30,000 (or not more than €360,00 in a once-per-year lottery).
An application must be made to the District Court at least 60 days before the first day on which it is intended to promote the lottery.
When considering the application, the District Court Judge shall have regard to the following:
- the character of the applicant;
- the number of periodical lotteries already operating in the locality; and
- the purpose of the lottery.
The following conditions shall attach to a lottery licence:
- not more than 25% of the total proceeds shall be retained by the holder of the licence and utilised for promotional expenses.
- not more than 75% of the total proceeds shall be allocated to prizes.
- not less than 25% of the total proceeds shall be allocated to a charitable or philanthropic purpose.
- the allocation of the proceeds, referred to above, shall be made within one month from the date of the holding of the lottery.
If the lottery licence is granted, the value of each prize and the name of the intended beneficiary of the lottery shall be stated on every ticket or, where the lottery is conducted in a premises, such information shall be prominently displayed at the normal means of access to the premises;
The holder of a lottery licence cannot derive any personal profit from the lottery and must not accept a stake from a person under the age of 18 years.
If the holder of the lottery licence contravenes the conditions of the permit, they are guilty of an offence. The District Court clerk must keep a register of all lottery licences issued in their District Court area and of any licences revoked or suspended under section 46 of the Principal Act.
Lotteries held for charitable or philanthropic purposes
Lotteries held for charitable or philanthropic purposes will be exempt from the requirement to hold a permit / licence, provided;
- the total value of the prizes is not more than €1,000;
- the price of each ticket is not more than €5;
- the maximum number of tickets sold does not exceed 1,500;
- the lottery is conducted for the benefit of a charitable or philanthropic purpose; and
- the promoter of the lottery derives no personal profit from the lottery and has not conducted a lottery in accordance with section 26A of the 1956 Act (as amended) during the preceding 3 months.
Lotteries held in conjunction with the sale or marketing of a product will also be exempt from the requirement to hold a permit / licence provided that i) total prize values do not exceed €2,500 and ii) there is no charge for taking part in the lottery other than the purchase of the product concerned (if this is required) and there is no additional charge for the redemption of a prize.
It is an offence to run a lottery otherwise than in accordance with the Gaming and Lotteries Acts 1956 to 2019. A person convicted of such offences is liable on summary conviction to a maximum fine of €5,000 and / or up to 6 months’ imprisonment, or on conviction on indictment to a maximum fine of €50,000 and / or up to 2 years’ imprisonment.
Officers of an offending corporate body may also be prosecuted of offences under the Act.
The District Court may suspend or revoke a permit or licence upon conviction for an offence.
For more information please contact Sion Williams.
Phone: 021 7301 272