Written answers

Thursday, 21 March 2024

Department of Justice and Equality

Legislative Measures

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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257. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she is aware of the concerns of sporting clubs and other community groups which run small-scale lotteries and is generally their main fundraiser in relation to the effects of the new legislation concerning betting regulations and gambling laws; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13495/24]

Photo of James BrowneJames Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail)
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The Gambling Regulation Bill 2022 sets out the framework and legislative basis for the establishment of a new, independent statutory body – Údarás Rialála Cearrbhachais na hÉireann, the Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland – and for a robust regulatory and licensing regime to regulate gambling in-person and online including lotteries and other similar gambling activities permitted under the Bill and for the regulation of gambling advertising, websites and apps.

My Department has engaged in extensive consultation with representatives from the industry, the charity sector and related sectors, as well as with professionals working in the area of problem gambling, persons adversely affected by the consequences of gambling and those with lived experience of problem gambling.

I have had wide-ranging engagement with the charity sector and have listened to their concerns. I and my officials met with 14 individual organisations from the charity sector, including the Charities Institute Ireland, in February 2023 to hear their views on the Bill. In addition, my Department has corresponded with over 40 charitable and sporting organisations in relation to the Bill, including the GAA and the Federation of Irish Sport. A further meeting between my officials and representatives from the Charities Institute Ireland took place in August 2023.

The Government recognises and appreciates the enormous role played by sporting and other local organisations in our communities, not least from a social and health perspective. It is not the intention to prevent local sports clubs from fundraising via lotteries, raffles and other gambling activities.

The Bill provides for a new type of licence that permits gaming, betting and lottery activities for fundraising for charitable or philanthropic purposes such as charities, local sports clubs and for other good causes. Under section 87 of the Bill, the advancement and promotion of sport is specifically outlined as being considered a charitable or philanthropic cause.

As the Deputy will be aware, local sports clubs that operate and promote lotteries as part of their fundraising model are already subject to regulation via the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956. The Gambling Regulation Bill is a direct continuation of this policy, and the measures, albeit modernised, provided for in the 1956 Act. The exclusion of the charity sector and sporting organisations would result in a removal of safeguards and protections that those sectors have complied with for close to the past 70 years.


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