Northern Ireland To Update Gambling Regulations After 35 Years

After more than 3 decades, Northern Ireland is finally ready for a new set of gambling regulations.

Northern Ireland is very close to implementing new gambling regulations. To be exact, after 35 years since the last such procedure. More specifically, all gambling in Northern Ireland falls under the regulation of ‘The Order’. This includes the ‘Betting, Gaming, Lotteries & Amusements (NI) Order’ from 1985, which is currently the only gambling legislation in the country.

Moreover, recognizing the urgency of new and improved legislation, many high-ranking state officials are pushing toward the new gambling laws. For that matter, the Department for Communities after an official meeting in 2019 said that there is ‘strong support for setting the foundations for a new official gambling regulator in Northern Ireland.

Consequently, with nearly 400 positive responses, all favouring these suggestions, it is clear where this is heading. One of the most vocal on the matter is Northern Ireland’s Communities Minister, Deidre Hargey. Below, we show you part of the official statement of Mrs. Hargey during a public press conference:

Gambling legislation has remained largely unchanged since it was enacted 35 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.

Deidre Hargey – Communities Minister

These new gambling regulations are imperative and a necessity for a market such as NIs. The implementation will be complete after two phases. Phase one is to instigate changes in 17 areas, while the second phase is a bit more complicated. It includes coming up with a new regulatory framework, and this is something that will take more time. Below you can see some of the more important areas that the new gambling laws will cover.

  • Bookmakers will work on Good Fridays and Sundays
  • Underage children are forbidden to play on any gaming machines
  • Create new laws in order to legally bind gambling operators
  • Provide a mandatory code of conduct for licensed gambling operators
  • Consider ‘attempted cheating’ as direct cheating
  • Enforce gambling contracts via law

Should this happen, then it is definitely a breath of fresh air in the NI’s gambling scene. Especially since their neighbour, England, has probably the ‘tightest’ gambling laws in the whole world. We are talking about the UK Gambling Commission, which reputation is that of a leading gambling regulator.

So it is definitely a wonder how can Northern Ireland function with 35-year-old gambling laws. And even more without an official gambling commission/regulator. Hence, we salute these new regulations. And definitely look forward to Northern Ireland finally having new gambling regulations, and with that a better and more secure gambling scene.

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