Reforms to Ireland’s over half-a-century-old gaming legislation currently under discussion in the Oireachtas could see a significant increase in the maximum stake for slot machines for the first time since 1956.
The current three percent maximum stake for gaming machines has been unchanged since the Gaming and Lotteries Act passed into law in 63 years ago.
The stake, and the payout limit of 50 cents, are widely acknowledged as outdated and operators have welcomed the proposed increase of the limit to EUR10 for each stake, along with a new maximum payout of EUR750.
The architect of the new bill, David Stanton, minister of state in the Department of Justice, said the stakes set out in 1956 were “completely unrealistic” and needed to be brought up to date.
Responding to critics of the rise, he highlighted that other gaming segments, including bingo, scratch cards, and lotteries, already offered much higher stakes and prizes.
Nevertheless, he indicated that he was “open to discussion and debate” about the appropriate maximum stakes. Under the new legislation, the minister for Justice and Equality will have the power to raise and lower the maximum stakes going forwards.
The new bill, which has been welcomed by both Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin, is the first part of wider reforms of Ireland’s gambling laws, which will see the establishment of a regulator’s office within two years.