New Gambling Laws in Northern Ireland by 2022?

Back in December we wrote about the consultation that was launched in Northern Ireland in relation to the future of gambling in Northern Ireland.

Following on from the consultation, a number of proposals were submitted to Northern Ireland’s legislative Assembly in relation to gambling reform. The proposals were submitted by Sinéad Ennis of Sinn Fein, Northern Ireland’s largest Irish nationalist party. Ennis said, “I have submitted our party proposals to modernise the law to bring it into line with changes in technology and new forms of gambling, such as online, fixed term betting odds and casinos”.

Little has been heard from these proposals; however, yesterday, Communities Minister Caral Ni Chuilin said that new laws would be brought before the Assembly before the current mandate ends in 2022. She further explained that, “we are looking at different stages of legislation, starting in this mandate as soon as possible”. Ms Ni Chuilin said that she had met with a number of officials including the health minister Robin Swann to discuss a range of issues around addiction.

The current Northern Ireland law in respect of gambling is contained in ‘The Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Northern Ireland) Order 1985’ (the “1985 Order”). The 1985 Order is broadly modelled on much older law from Great Britain (the Betting, Gaming and Lotteries Act 1963, the Gaming Act 1968 and the Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976). It is outdated and does not address many issues that are present in the sector today; these new laws will be of interest to many operators and we will review these new laws with great intrigue.