Betting and Lotteries Update
In the wake of numerous changes to gambling law in the past year, this briefing recaps the process for applying for / renewing a remote betting licence in Ireland, and provides an overview of the lottery licensing regime on the island of Ireland.
Remote Betting Licences
All businesses that enable remote betting with customers located in Ireland must hold a remote betting licence. The current licencing period ends on 30 June 2021, and all licences will expire on this date regardless of when they were issued.
Remote bookmakers and remote betting intermediaries who require a licence should begin the application/renewal process soon to ensure that they receive their licence on time.
Please contact any member of our betting and gaming team if you would like assistance with the process, a high-level summary of which is provided below.
|OVERVIEW OF APPLICATION PROCESS FOR CORPORATE APPLICANTS
|Action to be completed
|Documents required (if any)
|Step 1: Identify at least two Relevant Officers and obtain police conduct certificates for each Relevant Officer
Under the Irish Betting Acts, a “Relevant Officer” is:
|Written confirmation from the police authorities in the Relevant Officer’s country of residence that he/she has not been convicted of any relevant offences in that jurisdiction (the form of certificate / confirmation can vary as between police forces).
|Now (obtaining the police conduct certificates can take some time so this should be actioned as a priority).
|Step 2: Apply to the Revenue Commissioners for a Tax Reference Number for the Corporate Applicant
|Tax Registration Form
|Now (as a priority)
|Step 3: Obtain tax clearance certificates for each of: (1) Corporate Applicant; and (2) each of the two Relevant Officers
|Step 4: Placing of Newspaper Notices
|Each Relevant Officer must publish newspaper notices in two daily national newspapers declaring their intention to apply for a COPF.
|Not before 10 May and not after 31 May 2021. This timing is important as it triggers the beginning of the formal application process.
|Step 5: Application to Dept. of Justice for Certificates of Personal Fitness
|Step 6: Submission of Licence Application Form (together with supporting documents)
|Step 7: Payment of Licence Fee
€10,000 for new licences.
The cost of a renewal is based on turnover.
Lottery Licences in Ireland
As we explained in this article, the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Act 2019 (the “Act”) came into effect on 1 December 2020, introducing a licencing and permit regime for lotteries which were previously only permitted in limited circumstances. Whether operators should apply to An Garda Síochána for a permit, or to the District Court for a licence, will depend on the value of the prizes.
As a “lottery” is broadly defined under the Act to include “all competitions for money or money’s worth involving guesses or estimates of future events or of past events the results of which are not yet ascertained or not yet generally known,” all persons operating raffles, draws, bingo or similar competitions would be well-advised to take a fresh look at their activities and consider how the Act applies to them.
The lottery permit application process is relatively straight-forward, with operators merely required to apply to their local Garda Superintendent. The relevant application form is available on the Department of Justice’s website.
This contrasts with the more involved lottery licence application process, a high-level summary of which is provided below. We have assisted a number of clients in assessing whether a licence is required/appropriate, and in procuring lottery licences under the new regime. Please contact any member of our betting and gaming team if you would like assistance with the process or if you have any other queries on lotteries.
|OVERVIEW OF APPLICATION PROCESS
|Action to be Completed
|Documents required (if any)
|Step 1: Completion of Application Form and Service of Notice
The applicant must issue and serve notice in the appropriate form upon the Superintendent of the Garda Síochána for the district in which the lottery is to be held and the relevant District Court Clerk.
|Lottery Licence Application Form and Fee
|The application must be served upon the Garda Superintendent at least 28 days before the District Court hearing date.
The original application and a statutory declaration as to service must also be lodged with the District Court Clerk at least seven days before the hearing date.
Applicants must pay a fee of €150.
|Step 2: Application to the District Court
The applicant must apply to the District Court of the district in which the lottery will be promoted.
|Submissions and Relevant Materials
|The application must be made at least 60 days before the first day on which the lottery will be promoted (e.g. when tickets will be sold).
|Step 3: The Decision of the District Court
In considering the application for the licence, the District Court will have regard to the:
|A licence cannot be granted for a period in excess of 12 months.
Lottery Licence Applications in Northern Ireland
If you are proposing to run a lottery in Northern Ireland whereby you are raising funds by selling ballot or raffle tickets to the general public, you may (depending on the legislative requirements applying to your specific situation) need to apply to your local council for a lottery licence before proceeding. It is also important to note that lottery licences granted in Northern Ireland expire on 31 December of each year. To ensure that your lottery licence remains valid and subsisting you must submit a renewal form at least 2 weeks prior to the expiry date to allow sufficient time for processing.
The regulatory team within Arthur Cox NI can assist with analysis around what constitutes a “lottery” in Northern Ireland (and whether a licence is required), lottery licence applications and renewals, and any further queries you may have in this area.
The authors would like to thank Glyn McCormack for his contribution to this article.