New Gambling Laws in Northern Ireland

  • Northern Ireland's gambling legislation is subject to change
  • The reform introduces a set of rules for those who have a gambling license
  • In this article, we will talk about the new gambling laws in Northern Ireland
new gambling laws in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland’s gambling legislation is subject to change. This will happen if the 1985 Amendments to the Betting, Gaming, Lottery, and Entertainment Act are passed. According to local news agencies, its consideration began in the Assembly of the Autonomy of the United Kingdom after the presentation of the document by the Minister of Community Affairs Dirdra Khargi. The bill toughens penalties for involving minors in gambling. In addition, the draft law creates a body authorized to impose fees on gambling operators. The document also introduces a set of rules for those who have a gambling license. In this article, we will talk about the new gambling laws in Northern Ireland. 

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“The main objective of the bill is to address several specific anomalies regarding the current regulation of land betting, gambling, lottery, and various forms of entertainment. It also aims to strengthen existing regulatory measures to protect operators and consumers, as well as young people and those who may be harmed. connected with gambling “, – says in the explanatory note to the document. The bill will mark the first step in a two-step approach to reforming gambling legislation, Kharga said. However, much broader legislation to address outstanding issues such as Internet gambling regulation to be created during the Assembly’s future mandate.

Two-Phase Approach

Back in May 2021, the Northern Ireland government announced its readiness to change the country’s gambling legislation. The reason is outdated rules. According to the Minister of Community Affairs Deirdre Khargi, the legislative part of the gaming industry in Northern Ireland has not been adjusted for 35 years. Indeed, the reform will consist of 2 stages. Khargi ensures that all changes are effective and that they do not contradict other regulations of the country. Online gambling sites in Northern Ireland are also waiting for these changes to become legal.

New Gambling Laws in Northern Ireland: First Changes

The first phase will touch upon 17 key areas that have the greatest impact on the current state of the gambling industry in the country. Some of the most important changes are protecting vulnerable groups from the negative effects of gambling. New articles will appear for preventing children’s access to gambling, and an article on cheating will also include attempted cheating. As for relations with gambling operators, significant changes will take place already at the first stage. A fee will be for gambling companies. Besides, a set of rules will appear that they will be important to obey. Moreover, all gambling contracts can be enforced by law. Learn more about Northern Ireland’s Latest Gambling Laws from our article.

new gambling laws in Northern Ireland
Picture Source: Pixabay 

Also, at the first stage, some current provisions will become less strict. Bookmakers and bingo clubs will now be open on national holidays, as requested by over 66% of those surveyed. The second group of proposed changes will evolve gradually. They will focus on online gambling and the creation of current legislation that will regulate it. Considering that today it is the most common form of gambling, it will take a lot of work. By the way, the 1st stage has already begun. To date, 17 key points have changed that relate directly to land-based gambling establishments in the country. These items include:

  • Prohibiting children from using slot machines (protecting children and young people from the influence of gambling);
  • New mandatory set of rules for game license holders;
  • Establishment of a tax on gambling operators;
  • Enforcement of gambling contracts;
  • BC permission to work on Sundays and Good Friday. Good Friday (Belfast Agreement) is an agreement to resolve the conflict in Northern Ireland. The document was signed on April 10, 1998, between the British and Irish governments.

Beginning of The Second Stage

Since it took more time to compile the 2nd stage, the project appeared only 5 months later. The second stage includes a new regulatory framework that will regulate online gambling, including slot machines. Since online gambling is rapidly gaining popularity every day, the 2nd stage of the gambling business reform will be more interesting for the residents of Northern Ireland. At the recent meeting of the SI Assembly, amendments  also appeared in the 1st stage. Now the owners of bookmakers will get fines for involving a minor user in gambling. The legal age is 18 years old. Also, the definitions of such terms as cheating and attempted cheating have changed.

new gambling laws in Northern Ireland
Picture Source: Pixabay

In addition, they approved where the money will go from the mandatory collection of bookmaker companies. All deductions will go to the social needs of the country: education, medicine, assistance to gamblers who depend on gambling. This last point is very important for Northern Ireland. There are far more problem gamblers here than in the rest of the United Kingdom, according to a recent report. The country’s authorities emphasized that the number of users on online gambling sites has grown exponentially in 2020-21. Therefore, it is important for Northern Ireland to completely change the law on the gaming industry shortly. The 22BET Casino is also waiting for this reform. 

New Gambling Laws in Northern Ireland: Support

The results of the recent study show strong support for the creation of a new regulatory body in Northern Ireland. About 93% of all respondents said they believed a new regulatory body should have a mandate to oversee the local gambling and sports betting industry. Moreover, respondents also agreed almost unanimously (97%) that the Northern Ireland gambling industry should help fund research, education, and treatment for problem gamblers. And more than two-thirds of all respondents (about 68%) agreed that the country should amend the gambling regulatory framework to eliminate the £ 1 maximum bet for public lotteries.

The respondents were also asked to give their opinion on the rules for advertising gambling games. Currently, retail rate advertising is limited to “print” advertising, but other forms, including broadcast, are prohibited. Advertising of gambling halls is also prohibited, except for bingo and slot machines.

new gambling laws in Northern Ireland
Picture Source: Piqsels
  • 52% of all respondents said Northern Ireland should harmonize its gambling advertising rules with the UK, where they are more lenient;
  • 27% said that additional restrictions should appear;
  • 4% said the current restrictions should be relaxed for the online gambling sites in Northern Ireland;
  • 17% of respondents said that the current gambling advertising rules are still valid.

What the Future Holds For The Northern Ireland Online Gambling Market

Since the country’s current gambling laws are old, players can visit any overseas sites not regulated by the national courts or district councils, which currently act as regulators. However, no one can guarantee that such sites have proper licensing. Thus, this leads to questions regarding the fairness of the games and the general safety of the players. Additional problems with these gambling sites include the availability of roulette, blackjack, and poker. Unfortunately, these games are not available in land-based casinos in Northern Ireland. Let’s see how the government deals with this situation and whether the new gambling laws will have connection to the current UK Gambling Law of 2005. What is more, they also consider to update the latter. Learn more about European Countries With the Most Flexible Gambling Laws before visiting the 22BET Casino. Good luck!

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