Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 1336 – Gambling sector [30183/22].

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 1336 – Gambling sector [30183/22]. (14 Jun 2022)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2022...

1336. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Justice her plans to legislate to help tackle the problem of the normalisation of gambling and the scourge of gambling addiction in communities; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [30183/22] 

James Browne, Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality: The treatment of addiction and related issues are predominately a public health issue and, as such, are the responsibility of my colleague, the Minister for Health and the Health Service Executive. Neither I nor my Department have responsibility for these issues. 

However, the Deputy will be aware that the Programme for Government gives a clear commitment to establish a gambling regulator, which I am working to deliver. The Regulator will be focused on public safety and well-being with responsibility for regulating both in-person and online gambling, gambling advertising, gambling websites and apps. 

The Government has approved the Gambling Regulation Bill for priority drafting and publication, and drafting is underway. 

The Bill includes a number of measures to address ongoing concerns regarding the advertisement of gambling across all forms of media, problem gambling, the protection of children, ensuring public safety and well-being, and consumer protection. The Bill includes safeguards to address problem gambling, including prohibitions on:

- the use of credit cards as a method of payment for gambling;

- offering credit or loan facilities to consumers;

- offering opportunities to keep gambling free of charge, such as free bets or tokens;

- offering or inducing a person to keep gambling where that person wishes to cease gambling;

- offering enhanced treatment, such as more favourable terms and conditions, the offer of lower stakes, higher prizes or of better odds, etc.;

- offering inducements such as VIP or preferential treatment; and

- offering hospitality such as food, drinks, travel, accommodation or any other products or services. 

Furthermore, the Bill includes measures to establish a Social Impact Fund, to be administered by the Authority, for the purposes of financing research and information, education and awareness raising measures, and appropriately supporting problem gambling treatment activities by relevant health professionals.  

The publication by the Justice Committee of its pre-legislative scrutiny report on the General Scheme is another welcome step in the process. Now that I have received the pre-legislative scrutiny report, my officials will examine and consider the recommendations and findings of the Committee.   

A Programme Board has been established in my Department to ensure that the legislation and the operational preparations are progressed in parallel so that the Authority commences operations as soon as possible after enactment. 

There is a pathway mapped for this legislation progressing which, with the cooperation of the Houses of the Oireachtas, will facilitate the Authority being established in 2023.

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