Casino News | Overhaul of gambling laws in Northern Ireland
The country’s Minister for Communities, Deirdre Hargey, yesterday announced plans for the first major changes to gambling laws in Northern Ireland in more than 35 years.
Following a public consultation, Hargey proposed a two-step approach to advance changes in the current mandate of the Northern Ireland Assembly.
She said: “Gambling legislation has remained largely unchanged since its enactment 35 years ago. As a result, gambling regulations have not kept pace with the industry and technological changes. In my opinion, the change is long overdue.
“It is clear from our consultation that people are happy with the relaxation of some of the existing legal constraints on gambling. But they also believe that the government, the gambling industry and others need to do a lot more to prevent, control and combat problem gambling.
“The pragmatic approach I take will mean we make much-needed changes in the short term, while simultaneously ensuring that the complex areas of regulation and online gambling are given the time and consideration they need.”
The first phase will consist of legislation aimed at making tangible changes in around 17 key areas, mainly around gambling on premises, including improved protection for children and young people, as well as relaxations around the hours. opening.
The legislation will be presented to the assembly in the coming weeks. Among other factors, it will create new offenses for children playing machines; create new powers to impose a legal levy on operators; put in place a code of good practice for license holders; broaden the definition of cheating to include attempted cheating; make gambling contracts legally enforceable; remove some of the restrictions on promotional prize contests; and allow bookmakers and bingo clubs to open on Good Sunday and Good Friday.
The second phase of the legislation will require a longer period and include a new framework to regulate online gambling, including slot machines.