In March 2018 we reported that Fianna Fáil (the main opposition party to the Government) had introduced the Gambling Control Bill 2018 as a Private Members' Bill. That Bill was debated in the Irish Parliament on 9 May.

Government attitude to the Bill

Significantly, the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charles Flanagan, stated to the House that the Government was not opposing the Private Members' Bill. While Government is not opposing the Bill, the Minister said that the Government wants the Bill to be updated. Those updates include providing for an independent regulator and incorporating into the legislation, developments in the industry since the General Scheme for a Gambling Control Bill was published in 2013.

Departmental working group

David Stanton, the Minster for State in the Department of Justice and Equality with special responsibility for gambling, said that the working group set up by the Department to report on the changes needed, is expected to submit a final report to Government in mid to late 2018.

Select Committee on Justice

Following the debate, the Bill was referred to the Select Committee on Justice.

Gaming & Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2018

Separately, the Minster for Justice and Equality also said that the proposed amendments to the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956 set out in the Courts and Civil Law Miscellaneous Provisions Bill 2017, will now be contained in a separate Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill. That Bill is currently being prepared by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel and publication is expected in Autumn 2018.

The main changes in the proposed Bill include introducing new categories of lotteries and increasing the stakes and prizes for gaming machines. You can read more about those proposed changes here.