The Communities Minister for Northern Ireland has said she hopes to be able to legislate to reform gambling law before the end of the Assembly’s current mandate in March 2022.
Acknowledging the urgency of the situation, she said:
Process of reform has begun
Her answer on gambling law reform was in response to a question during Communities Committee on Wednesday.
Robin Newton MLA asked the Minister for Communities, Carál Ní Chuilín, about gambling regulation and it was in her response that she intimated reform was coming.
At the end of last year, the Department for Communities ran a public consultation on gambling laws in Northern Ireland, which CARE responded to.
The results of this consultation have not yet been published but the Minister has said the Department has begun the work of looking at the results.
Gambling law in Northern Ireland is a devolved competence under the 1988 Northern Ireland Act, but the only piece of gambling law is the Betting, Gaming, Lottery and Amusements (Northern Ireland) Order 1985.
Since that was passed, the explosive growth of online gambling has changed the nature of gambling related harms and mean new legislation is needed.
Strong public support for change
CARE NI’s recent polling showed widespread public support for gambling law reform, with 68% of people strongly supportive of a mandatory levy on gambling firms and 92% believing online prizes and stakes should be regulated by law.