CARE: Christian Action, Research and Education

Gambling
Cause menu Close menu
Gambling machines 1 0
Gambling

Northern Ireland Gambling Consultation Guide

North­ern Ire­land Gambling Con­sulta­tion Guide

Thank you for being willing to respond to the Department for Communities consultation on future regulation of gambling in Northern Ireland (NI). This is an important consultation to respond to if you want to:

  • Protect children and young people from the potential risks of problem gambling.
  • Make your voice heard on the possibility of a casino coming to NI.
  • Ensure effective support and treatment are available to individuals who suffer from gambling addiction.

Please respond by 5pm on Friday 21 February. The consultation document can be found here. Please respond to this consultation if you currently live in Northern Ireland.

Below you will find a guide to help you respond. There are lots of questions in this consultation and we are not suggesting that you will necessarily want to respond to all of them. In the guide below we highlight the questions we would encourage you to answer.

They begin with simple yes/no questions that can be answered very quickly. There is then the option to ‘comment.’ It would be really helpful if you could provide comments. In doing so, though, please do not copy and paste the text below. From past experience of Government consultations, we know that multiple identical responses can be counted as one response. Please make the points below in your submission in your own words.

We suggest you write a letter and either email it to: gamblingconsultation@communities-ni.gov.uk

Or send it to:
Regulation of Gambling in Northern Ireland Consultation Department for Communities Social Policy Unit Level 8,
Causeway Exchange,
1–7 Bedford Street
Belfast BT2 7EG

Ques­tions to answer

Should the law be amended so as to permit casinos to operate in Northern Ireland?

Recommended answer: NO

Is it necessary to introduce additional, Northern Ireland specific, licensing and regulatory measures with respect to remote gambling operators?

Recommended answer: YES

Please make some additional comments.

Suggested additional points to include:

  • Northern Ireland gambling law must ensure consumers who gamble online are protected and treated fairly. In GB, online gambling makes up 37% of the gambling market.
  • The law should:
    • Ensure that children do not have access to online gambling and that adverts are not targeting children;
    • Restrict the times when online gambling is available so that sites cannot take bets between midnight and 6 am, a time when problem gamblers are particularly vulnerable;
    • Regulate social media sites that offer free gambling like games; and
    • Prevent the use of credit cards for online gambling.
  • It is essential that new remote gambling legislation in NI tackles young people gambling within online video games using so-called “skins” (a downloadable graphic or audio based item which changes the appearance of a character in a game) and “loot boxes” (an item you can buy in-game which in certain games contains a mystery item) and the increase in gambling on e-Sports by those under 18.

Are the current consumer protection measures available to Northern Ireland consumers when gambling online sufficient?

Recommended answer: NO

Please make some additional comments.

Suggested additional points to include:

  • It is essential that there are proper consumer protection measures for the citizens of Northern Ireland. For instance, the need for proper consumer protection measures in relation to:
  • Age verification of anyone wanting to gamble;
    • The requirement to promote self-exclusion;
    • Policies and procedures for customer interaction where an operator has concerns that a customer’s behaviour may indicate problem gambling; and
    • Prohibitions on advertising to individuals who have chosen to self-exclude.
  • Gambling websites that operate in Northern Ireland should be required to be part of GAMSTOP (as they will in GB from March), a new system allowing a person to self exclude from all licensed sites in one go.

Do you believe that other specific measures should be introduced to help protect children?

Recommended answer: YES

Please make some additional comments.

Suggested additional points to include:

  • State that you believe promoting online gambling to children/young people and facilitating online gambling by children/young people are unacceptable.
  • There should be a comprehensive set of offences concerning underage gambling. These should include preventing children from:
    • Using certain gaming machines, (e.g. FOBTs); and
    • Being invited to gamble online, including online gambling games on other sites, even when there is no exchange of money.
  • There should be age verification for all online gambling, including free-to-play gambling games through gaming or gambling apps, Facebook or gambling websites.
  • There should be no gambling adverts during sporting events before 9pm. Advertising should not be targeted at young children/young people.

Do you believe that specific offences should be created in relation to causing or permitting an under-18 to gamble using certain gaming machines?

Recommended answer: YES

Do you believe that the Northern Ireland gambling industry should help fund research, education and treatment of problem gamblers?

Recommended answer: YES

Do you believe that a power should be taken to impose a statutory levy on the Northern Ireland gambling industry?

Recommended answer: YES

Do you have any other comments in respect of gaming machines?

Recommended answer: YES

Do you have any other comments in respect of gaming machines?

Recommended answer: YES

Please make some additional comments.

Suggested additional points to include:

  • The law should cover all types of gaming machine and the Department for Communities should know how many gaming machines are in operation.
  • There should be a comprehensive set of consumer protection measures for gaming machines, including:
    • Self-exclusion;
    • The ability to set time and spend limits; and
    • Mandatory alerts and algorithms to identify problematic play.
  • With regard to payment:
    • There should be no contactless payments as a direct form of payment for gaming machines.
    • Players should not be able to directly use their debit or credit cards with gaming machines.
    • No credit cards should be used for any form of gambling or for adding money to digital wallets. This is for the obvious reason that you can spend money you don’t have chasing losses on credit cards.

Do you have any other comments in respect of the future of gambling in Northern Ireland?

Recommended answer: YES

Please make some additional comments

Suggested additional points to include:

  • Any new law must respond to the level of problem gambling in Northern Ireland, which is significantly higher than in other parts of the UK. Given that fact, casinos should not be introduced in NI.
  • A legal duty of care should be placed on gambling operators.
  • There should be an updated problem gambling prevalence survey to assess the scale of the problem gambling in NI, which should be then carried out every three years.
  • There should be an assessment of young people who may be problem gamblers.
  • There should be an NHS care pathway for individuals who struggle with problem gambling and an NHS specialist clinic for individuals suffering from problem gambling.
  • There should be financial support provided by the gambling industry in NI for research, treatment and education through the introduction of a compulsory levy.
Gamb3

Gambling

While for some, gambling is just harmless fun, for a significant minority it causes genuine devastation. Our vision is to see laws passed that will help protect vulnerable problem gamblers.

Find out more about the cause