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Communities Committee wants to hear your views on new Gambling Legislation

Session: Session currently unavailable

Date: 19 October 2021

Reference: CFC 08/20/21

The Assembly’s Committee for Communities has today launched its ‘Call for Views’ on the new Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Amendment) Bill, which will bring about important and long-awaited amendments to the 1985 Order, which has remained largely unchanged since it was enacted 35 years ago.

The Bill, if passed, will address a number of existing anomalies in relation to the current regulation of land-based betting, gaming, lottery and amusement activities. It also seeks to strengthen existing regulatory protections for operators and consumers as well as young people and those who may be vulnerable to gambling harm.  

Speaking after today’s launch, the Committee Chairperson, Paula Bradley MLA said: “Local gambling legislation is extremely outdated. The current 1985 Order, is based on various pieces of Great Britain legislation dating back as far as 1963. As well as being inflexible, the current law has not been amended to keep pace with the industry and technological changes.

“While my Committee is generally supportive of the principles of this Bill, we are clear that it would have been our preference to see a full repeal and modern replacement of the 1985 Order. However, we also know that the outcome of reviews of gambling regulation in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland may affect the direction of any future changes here, and, in that context this Bill is an important and necessary starting point”.

Ms. Bradley continued: “It has been reported in recent years that up to as many as 40,000 people in Northern Ireland may have a gambling problem. To put that in context, that figure represents the highest incidence in the UK, four times higher than in any other region and three times higher than the Republic of Ireland. The Gambling Commission also reports that children as young as 11 have problems with gambling.”

Ms. Bradley concluded: “It’s vitally important that we hear from as many people as possible on the detail of this Bill. We want to ensure that it strikes the right balance between supporting the industry, protecting those under 18 and enhancing support for those at risk from gambling.”

The Committee ‘Call for Views’ and further information on how to respond can be accessed on the Northern Ireland Assembly website via http://nia1.me/4q1 The closing date for responses is Friday 12th November.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

Further information on the detail of the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Amendment) Bill can be found here:

The Committee for Communities membership is:

Paula Bradley MLA (Chairperson)
Kellie Armstrong MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Andy Allen MLA
Stephen Dunne MLA
Mark H Durkan MLA
Ciara Ferguson MLA
Paul Frew MLA
Fra McCann MLA
Áine Murphy MLA

Media enquiries to:
Sinead Murphy
Deputy Communications Officer
Northern Ireland Assembly
Phone: 028 9052 5938       Mobile: 078 998 64368

Email: sinead.murphy@niassembly.gov.uk

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