Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Justice and Equality
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. The Justice Plan 2021 identifies the enactment of legislation to licence and regulate the gambling industry as a key objective.
As outlined in the Justice Plan 2021, I expect to be in a position to publish the Scheme of the Bill in Q3 2021, and will seek Government approval for the drafting of the bill on that basis. My Department is targeting some key milestones in the year ahead. In addition to the publication of the general scheme, it is intended to finalise the appointment of a CEO designate by the end of the year. This is the clear path towards the regulator being fully operational in early 2023.
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 2019 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.
Furthermore, 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the size, complexity and technological development of the modern gambling industry and having regard to the current outdated and complex arrangements, it will be important that the regulator will be established on a sound footing and be adequately resourced to carry out this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.