Irish government to set new maximum stakes and prizes on gaming machines

28 November 2019

The Republic of Ireland’s Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, has announced plans to cap the maximum stake on gaming machines at €5 (£4.25/$5.51), while the top prize will be set at €500.

Flanagan put forward the proposals in the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019, an interim reform of the law that updates the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956.

Current regulations, which have been in place for some 63 years, state that the maximum stake on gaming machines should be 3 cents, while the top payout is set at 50 cents.

The government had previously suggested new limits of €10 for stakes and €750 for prizes, but after passing through Oireachtas, Ireland’s national parliament, it was amended to include the revised amounts of €5 and €500.

David Stanton, Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integrations in the Republic of Ireland, is steering the Bill through the Oireachtas.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice told iGamingBusiness.com that the Bill is set for debate in the near future, with the aim of it being enacted before the end of the current session in July 2020.

The spokesperson also outlined that Flanagan only has influence over regulation related to the stake and prize amounts for licensed gaming machines. Licencing and regulation of the machines, as well as the premises where they are used, is the responsibility of the Revenue Commissioners. 

The Irish government’s move to set new limits on gaming machines comes after the UK government this year also changed its regulation, drastically cutting the amount players can spent on fixed odds betting terminals.

New laws that came into effect in April state that players can now only wager a maximum of £2 per spin on FOBTs, down from the previous maximum bet of £100.

Last month, the Irish government also said in its 2020 Budget that bookmakers in the country will receive a relief of up to €50,000 from the 2% turnover tax levied on betting in the country.

Effectively, this means bookmakers will not have to pay tax on the first €50,000 in wagers they take each year. The €50,000 limit applies in each calendar year, while the relief will only apply to single undertakings.