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New gambling bill introduced in Northern Ireland

14 Feb 2022

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey will today take gambling reforms through the Consideration Stage of the legislative process.

The Minister introduced the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Amendment) Bill as a first phase in wider reform, saying the Bill should be regarded as the start of reform, not the end.

Minister Hargey said:

“Overhauling our gambling legislation is something that I believe is very important and I was determined to deliver change during my time as Communities Minister. This Bill is proposing the first substantial changes to gambling law here in nearly 40 years and I am pleased I have been able to get it to this stage. It is the first stage of reform.

“I also wanted to use the opportunity this Bill provides to support the efforts of local charities, sports clubs and other voluntary groups to raise more money for good causes in our community.”

The bill will have its Consideration Stage today where the Assembly will have an opportunity to vote on amendments to the bill, which was introduced by the Minister on 27 September last year.

This Bill will deliver tangible changes in around 14 key areas of premises-based gambling, including improving protection for children and young people and the creation of enabling powers to allow for industry Codes of Practice to be introduced alongside an industry levy. The levy, in particular, opens up the possibility of more funding in the future to help those affected by, or at risk of, gambling related harm.

The Minister was keen to emphasise that she saw this Bill as marking a beginning of much needed wider reforms.

The Minister continued:

“In my view, the current Bill should be regarded as a start, not as an end. When I originally announced my plans to reform our gambling laws last May, I proposed a two-phased approach. This Bill represents the first of those two phases.

“Much more work will need to be done in the next phase.”
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