News & Insights: Licensing

Political Limbo Preserves Outdated Gambling Regulations

10 September 2019

A new report published by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has confirmed that Northern Ireland’s outdated gambling laws will not be updated while the political impasse at Stormont remains.

Among several issues, the report has highlighted that the legislation in Northern Ireland differs greatly to that in the rest of the UK, has become increasingly outdated, has not kept pace with the industry and technological changes and contains no provisions which relate to online gambling.

In a statement to the independent industry body, GamblingCompliance, Associate Solicitor Christopher Bullock commented, “Operators are conducting business in an environment of uncertainty where many forms of electronic gaming machines and online gambling are simply not covered by the existing legislation which has not been updated to address modern gambling methods and technological advances.”

“It appears that many gambling outlets in Northern Ireland, including both large UK chains and local independents, have opted to follow the English and Welsh legal position and standards set by the Gambling Commission, albeit this may in cases be in breach of the Northern Irish legislation. This is obviously far from ideal and we believe that major reform is required in Northern Ireland, similar to the changes brought about in the UK by the Gambling Act 2005.”

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