Northern Ireland’s communities minister, Caral Ni Chuilin, has said that new legislation is on the cards in order to better regulate the country’s online casino industry. The minister has made a promise that new legislation will be brought before the assembly in order to ensure better regulation of the industry and protect problem gamblers in doing so.
The minister said that she plans to bring new legislation drafts before the assembly before the end of 2022 and her current mandate. She said the new legislations will look to better regulate online gambling in Northern Ireland while introducing a number of measures to protect players from gambling related harm. This includes working to tackle gambling addiction, introducing a number of protective measures, and controlling online gambling participation. At this stage the minister has said that the lawmakers are considering various different suggestions for these online casino legislation changes.
The promise from Ms Chuilin comes on the back of discussions with Philip McGuigan, a member of the Sinn Fein party and a former gambling addict. Discussions were held around withdrawal reversals in which players withdrawing winnings instead use the money to place more bets, although no clear call has yet been made on this issue.
In addition, the two discussed gambling as a public health issue with Ms Chuilin assuring that she is in discussion with the health minister of Northern Ireland, Robin Swann, as to how to deal with problem gambling issues ad how to help families of gambling addicts who may be going through trying times.
The online casino industry has been a hot topic in Northern Ireland in recent years. with the country seeing a sharp increase in the number of problem gamblers. This has promoted the government to introduce measures to better control the industry and to protect players too.
Politicians in the region recently looked to Westminster as part of an inquiry into the establishment of new regulations for the iGaming industry. The region’s gambling legislation has not been updated since 1985 and the aged policy currently does not include any references to mobile or online casino activities of any sort. A similar inquiry eight years ago failed to result in any meaningful legislation improvements. The industry in the region has been assured that these inquiries are not about prohibiting gambling but about protecting the vulnerable and make gambling safer and fairer for all.
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