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NI Communities Minister hints at gambling law reform by 2022

10 July 2020

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:

We need, absolutely need, measures in to protect vulnerable people and people who have a problem with gambling.”
Carál Ní Chuilín Communities Minister

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.

She said:

So we are, ah, we have started the process of looking at the consultation... or at the legislation, what it will look like. We hope to make progress on that certainly after the summer recess. And like the pensions scheme legislation, we hope to try to get it in so it meets the legislative time table within this mandate so we don't have to rush it through accelerated passage.
Carál Ní Chuilín Communities Minister

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

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The NI Assembly is responsible for gambling law

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.

Watch Communities Minister hint at gambling law change by March 2022


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.

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