Licensed Amusement Halls
Amusement halls and funfairs maybe licensed by the local authority. The provisions only apply where the local authority resolves to adopt a resolution under the Gaming and Lotteries Act. Certain procedures must be followed in order to bring the legislation into force in an area.
Gaming at an amusement hall or funfair is not unlawful subject to certain conditions including:
- Compliance with the conditions of the licence;
- Persons under 16 not permitted to play;
- Limitation of the stake to a small amount specified in legislation;
- Limitation on the overall value of each game;
- No link or eligibility for participation in other game or lottery.
District Court Certificate (Pre-2019 Act)
An application may be made to the District Court for a certificate authorising an amusement hall or funfair. Forms of entertainment other than gaming must be provided. The Court may attach conditions limiting the hours during which gaming may be carried out, restricting the types of gaming, the extent of the particular kinds of gaming, amounts of stakes and prices. The certificate shall specify the period in the year in which the licence is to be issued.
The application to Court is in a particular format. 28 days notice must be given to the local authority and An Garda Siochana. Notice of the application must be published in a newspaper at least 14 days before the hearing.
In considering the application the Court has regard to:
- the character of the applicant or persons controlling at;
- the number of gaming licences already in force;
- the suitability of the premises and place proposed to be used;
- the class of persons likely to resort to it;
- the finds of gaming.
The Superintendent of An Garda Siochana and local authority may appear and others may appear and give evidence. There is an appeal from the Circuit Court to the District Court in respect of refusal or the imposition of conditions.
The application for the gaming licence itself is made to the Revenue Commissioners. A tax clearance certificate is required. The relevant fee must be paid.
The licensee of a licensed amusement hall or funfair must display a notice giving details of the name and address of the licensee and conditions of the licence at or near the entrance.
Gaming permits (2019 Act)
The application process for a permit for gaming for either charitable or philanthropic purposes or for the benefit of the promotor. This replaced the previous primarily location specific approach to gaming at circuses, carnivals and in licensed premises. There are various conditions that apply to gaming promoted under a permit issued by a Garda Superintendent. The Superintendent maintains a register of all gaming permits issued, revoked and suspended in their district.
Person may apply to the superintendent of the Garda Síochána for the district in which the premises to which the application relates is situated for gaming permit authorising the person to engage in gaming at that premises in accordance the legislation.
A superintendent of the Garda Síochána to whom an application for a gaming permit is made under shall, not later than 28 days after receiving the application, either grant the application and issue a gaming permit to the applicant in such form and specifying such matters as the Minister may determine, or refuse the application.
Application and Issue (2019 Act)
In considering an application under this section, the superintendent of the Garda Síochána 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 gaming permits already issued in the locality;
- the suitability of the premises or place proposed to be used;
- the kind of gaming proposed to be carried on, including whether the gaming is for a charitable or philanthropic purpose.
A gaming permit shall not be issued to a person—
- for any kind of gaming in which by reason of the nature of the game, the chances of all the players, including the banker, are not equal,
- to promote gaming for charitable or philanthropic purposes on the same day or in the same place as gaming being promoted other than for charitable or philanthropic purposes, or
- to promote gaming by means of a gaming machine.
Effect of Permit
A gaming permit, if not previously revoked or suspended, shall continue in force for such period not exceeding 12 months as may be specified in the permit and shall then expire. A person who holds a gaming permit shall not transfer that permit to any other person and any such purported transfer shall be void and of no effect.
A person who holds a gaming permit shall not accept a stake from a person under the age of 18 years. Breach is an offence. It is e a good defence to such charge to prove that the person so charged believed and had reasonable cause for believing that the person in respect of whom such offence is alleged to have been committed was of or over the age of 18 years.
A gaming permit shall indicate whether the gaming authorised by the permit is for a charitable or philanthropic purposes or for the benefit of the holder of the permit and shall specify the kind of gaming so authorised. The following conditions shall attach to a gaming permit and shall be expressed in the permit:
- the stake in each game shall not be more than €10 for each player;
- no player may win more than the value of €3,000 in each game whether that game is conducted in a single or multiple event;
- if more than one of the same game is conducted at the same time, the total value of the prizes shall not be more than €3,000;
- no stake shall be hazarded by the players with the holder of the gaming permit other than a charge for the right to take part in the game;
- the conditions referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) and the name of the intended beneficiary shall be prominently displayed at the normal means of access to the premises proposed to be used;
- the hours during which gaming may be carried on.
Gaming Permit Conditions
A person who holds a gaming permit shall comply with the conditions of the permit. Breach is no offence. The Minister may by regulations vary the above amounts Before making doing sothe Minister shall have regard to the following:
- the number of gaming permits and licences in force under the Act at that time;
- the potential impact of any such variation on gaming generally;
- the impact of gaming on society in general.
Every superintendent of the Garda Síochána shall keep a register of all gaming permits issued by him or her under this section, and any such permits that have been revoked or suspended.The register maintained shall be open for inspection at all reasonable times by members of the public.
A person to whom a gaming permit has been refused under this section may appeal the refusal to a judge of the District Court assigned to the District Court district in which the premises to which the application relates is situated.”.
The 2019 act updated the maximum allowable stake and prize amounts rom 3c and 50c to €10 and €750 respectively. There is a regulation making power for the Minister for Justice and Equality to amend stake and prize amounts. It is a n offence to accept a stake from a person under the age of 18 years.
The Revenue Commissioners to establish and maintain a register of gaming licences. The register of gaming licences is to be published on the Internet or such other manner as the Revenue Commissioners decide.
- the name and trading name (if different) of each licensee;
- the address at which each licensee ordinarily resides or the address of his or her principal office or place of business;
- the address of the premises (if any) at which the licensee carries on gaming;
- in the case of a licensee that is a body corporate, the name of the relevant officers of the body corporate;
- such other particulars as may be specified by the Minister for Finance.
It is an offence to promote any form of lottery activity without a licence or permit having being issued in accordance with the Act.