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What exactly is the Gaming and Leisure Association of Ireland?

The Gaming and Leisure Association of Ireland, or GLAI, is an association of private members gaming clubs providing casino-like services and online entities involved in a similar activity.

When and why was the GLAI set up?

The GLAI was established in November 2005 to promote best practice in the gaming sector and to conclude a Code of Practice to which its members must adhere. Its aim is to oversee the regulation of the casino sector in Ireland and to ensure that the transition from private members gaming clubs to regulated casinos is done in a viable manner. The association was also set up to ensure consumer protection and operating standards across the sector.

What does the code of conduct include?

It includes advising GLAI members to ensure that they are tax compliant, that they reframe from providing slot machines, have proper age verification measures in place, offer “self-exclusion” to members who feel they might be gambling too much, and that they do not sell alcohol.

How has the GLAI decided on these criteria and has it looked at the industry elsewhere?

The GLAI Code of Practice was drawn up on the basis of existing individual rules in private members gaming clubs and on the basis of Codes of Conduct for this sector across the European Union.

What are the operating rules of the GLAI?

The association is comprised of general members and a board of directors. The board manages the association on a daily basis and holds meetings with the full complement of members.

How is the GLAI funded?

The GLAI is funded through membership subscription fees only. The association is a company limited by guarantee regulated by Irish law.

What is the exact definition of gambling services?

The Electronic Commerce Directive defines gambling services as games of chance involving a pecuniary stake.

Are card clubs or casino like venues a new phenomenon in Ireland?

To provide some context on the issue, Card Clubs have existed in one form or another in Dublin since the early 1970s. While Poker has always enjoyed a certain popularity in Ireland, Gaming (Roulette, Black Jack, & Punto Banco) became more popular in tandem with other changes in Irish society, including our growing levels of affluence, multiculturalism and the popularity of the Internet.

As the Celtic Tiger enabled more people to travel, growing numbers of Irish tourists experienced Casinos across Europe and in the US. In 2007 alone it is estimated that of the 441,000 Irish people who visited the United States, approx. 35,000 Irish people visited Las Vegas.

What was the GLAI’s response to the recent publication of the Government’s Casino Committee report on Regulating Gaming in Ireland?

This report provides a comprehensive review of the situation as it currently exists in Ireland, sets out a very clear approach as to the appropriate way forward in it’s 32 recommendations, and provides a significant amount of international comparative information. The fundamental principle identified in the report is that of “Social Responsibility” and it considers that the best way to ensure proper regulation for all three sectors, (gaming machines, private member clubs, & online gaming) is by establishing a regulatory authority responsible for granting licenses with appropriate powers of enforcement.

The GLAI wholeheartedly supports this approach and believes the report’s proposed tightening of gaming legislation is vital if Ireland is to ensure the principle of social responsibility is adhered to, thereby ensuring consumer protection, protection of the vulnerable, & appropriate economic development, for the sector and the economy at large.