Written answers

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Department of Justice and Equality

Gambling Sector

Thomas Gould (Cork North Central, Sinn Fein)
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470. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the parts of the gambling regulation Bill that need to be updated; the reason this will take until 2021; and if consideration has been given to using a similar Bill proposed by Fianna Fáil in 2018. [44228/20]

Thomas Gould (Cork North Central, Sinn Fein)
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471. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the funding streams available to support the work of a project (details supplied); if her attention has been drawn to the extraordinary work it does; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44229/20]

Photo of James BrowneJames Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 470 and 471 together.

The Programme for Government gives a clear commitment to establish a gambling regulator focused on public safety and well-being, covering gambling online and in person, and the powers to regulate advertising, gambling websites and apps.

While a General Scheme of a Gambling Control Bill was published in 2013, a considerable amount of further work has been done in the meantime. The Inter-Departmental Working Group on Future Licensing and Regulation of Gambling reported in 2018 and a European Commission funded report on the structure of a Gambling Regulator was produced in late 2019. The task now is to bring all three elements together, and having regard to the on-going evolution of the gambling industry, into one coherent Scheme of a Bill that will deliver on the Programme for Government commitment.

Given the size, complexity and technological development of the modern gambling industry and having regard to the current outdated and complex arrangements, it will be important that the regulator will be established on a sound footing and be adequately resourced to carry out this important task.

I expect to be in a position to publish the Scheme of the Bill during 2021 and will seek Government approval for the drafting of the Bill on that basis.

While no budget provision exists within the responsibility of my Department for individual projects, the new gambling legislation will likely provide for the establishment of a Social Fund – financed by levies on licensed operators – to provide funding for information and research campaigns and, critically, to assist appropriate addiction treatment and prevention programmes.

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