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Department for Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey, has announced a two phase approach to changing NI’s gambling laws following a consultation in 2020. Minister Hargey in introducing the changes said:
“Gambling legislation has remained largely unchanged since it was enacted thirty-five years ago. As a result, gambling regulation here has not kept pace with industry and technological changes. In my view change is long overdue.
“It is clear from our consultation that people are content for some of the existing legal constraints on gambling to be relaxed. But they also believe that government, the gambling industry and others need to do much more to prevent, control and combat problem gambling.
“The pragmatic approach I am taking will mean that we deliver some much needed change in the short term, while simultaneously ensuring that complex areas of regulation and online gambling are given the time and consideration they need.”
The first phase will be legislation to deliver changes in around 17 key areas mainly around premises based gambling including improving protection for children and young people, as well as some relaxations around hours of operation.
These changes, amongst other matters, will;
Phase two of the reforms will include a completely new regulatory framework which will regulate online gambling.
The Minister also recently announced that she is changing legislation to enable local voluntary groups and clubs to raise vital funds by selling tickets online.
The legislation will be introduced in the NI Assembly in the coming weeks. The two phased approach is designed to ensure the legislation can be progressed in the current assembly mandate which ends in May 2022. Phase two of the reforms will take place over a longer timescale.
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03 June 2021