Consultation commences on the regulation of gambling in Northern Ireland

The Gambling Act 2005 applies to all parts of the UK with the exception of Northern Ireland, where gambling is regulated under the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Northern Ireland) Order 1985. One consequence of this is that no land-based casinos are entitled to open in Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Department for Communities has now published a consultation paper on Regulation of Gambling in Northern Ireland (that you can downloaded below). On its website, it describes the consultation paper as follows:

The consultation paper has been drafted to seek public opinion on the current gambling law in Northern Ireland, and to seek views on whether changes are now necessary to ensure Northern Ireland has a more flexible and modern licensing framework capable of responding to the many societal and technical changes which have occurred in the industry. We are keen to hear the views of all parties with an interest in gambling in Northern Ireland, so that relevant views and evidence can be taken into account in any future policy decisions.

Commenting on the launch of the consultation, DfC Permanent Secretary Tracy Meharg said:

I know that the gambling industry is an important employer in Northern Ireland and that gambling is an activity which is enjoyed responsibly by a large number of people. However it is very important to recognise that for some people, gambling has the potential to cause considerable harm. Any future changes to the law must balance the interests of the gambling industry with the need for regulation to protect vulnerable people. There is no doubt that the current legislation is outdated and has not kept pace with industry and technological changes. This consultation will allow everyone with an interest in gambling to share their views on the current legislation and will put the Department in a position to offer the best advice to an incoming Minister on the future regulatory framework.  I would encourage all those with an interest in Northern Ireland gambling law to take the opportunity to contribute to this consultation.

The consultation is wide-ranging, covering all forms of gambling, both land-based and online. It will run until 17:00 on 21 February 2020 and you can:

Those interested in this subject may also wish to read a report presented to the UK Parliament in September 2019 (pursuant to section 3(11) of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc) Act 2019) and a debate on that report that took place in the House of Commons on 30 September 2019. You can download the report below.