Those who have ever visited and tried gambling in Northern Ireland – or actually live there – probably recognized that their gambling laws are quite outdated. It is quite complicated, it is pretty old, and it is not able to keep up with the changes in the world. But the latest regulations seem to be putting an end to that.
When talking about Northern Ireland, people usually think about the amazing surroundings. The closeness of the ocean, the peninsulas, the green fields, and the even greener forests. The little bit creepy, but always beautiful, old castles. But if you are a gambler, you probably also think about the not too practical regulations on wagering. Fortunately, the legislators and regulating bodies also realized that this situation should not last any longer. As such, they are overviewing the gambling laws of Northern Ireland – and they are ready to make them fit the modern world!
Regulations in NI
As for now, the gambling laws of Northern Ireland are based on the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries & Amusements (NI) Order 1985. As mentioned above, it is quite underdeveloped. This is why it is under a strategic review right now. The webpage of the Department for Communities – NI on the legislation says: “The 1985 Order is modeled on much older GB law which was repealed and replaced by the Gambling Act 2005. The 1985 Order regulates betting on tracks and in bookmaking offices; gaming, including the use, supply, and maintenance of gaming machines, small-scale amusements with prizes and gaming in bingo clubs; and local lotteries. The courts and district councils license gambling activities, the Department licenses track betting and PSNI enforces the law.”
So, it has been a long time – exactly 35 years! – since they changed a thing about it. And that is why online gambling news sites in the UK are all about the topic!
Northern Ireland gambling laws in the changing
It has been 35 years since the country made any major changes in its gambling regulations. So, we can say it was high time to do so. The Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey agrees with us, she said, that these reforms were “long overdue”.
And it was BBC.com that collected all the alterations that lawmakers of the country have in mind. As to them, the new laws will:
- Create new offenses in relation to allowing children to play gaming machines
- Create powers to impose a statutory levy on gambling operators
- Establish a mandatory code of practice for those holding gambling licenses
- Broaden the definition of cheating to include attempted cheating
- Make gambling contracts enforceable in law
- Remove some of the restrictions on promotional prize competitions
- Permit bookmakers and bingo clubs to open on Sundays and Good Friday.
These new approaches will probably attract more offshore sites, like online sportsbook sites in the UK, to get into the territory. We guess, that sites like bet365 would be happy to give the possibility of gambling to the citizens of Northern Ireland.
When and how?
According to the article posted by BBC.com, they will introduce the legislation in the Assembly in the next couple of weeks. As for now, the minister has a two-phased approach towards the changes in the current Assembly mandate. To cite MS Hargey again: “It is clear from our consultation that people are content for some of the existing legal constraints on gambling to be relaxed.” And it is not just the residents! There are several operators of online gambling sites in the UK – or basically any other countries – who would like to function in the country. And these operators and sites, like bet365, will be able to give the gambling residents what they need! This, of course, will still take some time, but finally, we are at least getting there!