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Northern Ireland Recommends New Gambling Regulator and Levy



Northern Ireland Report Backs New Regulator and Gambling Levy

Northern Ireland’s gambling landscape is on the verge of a significant transformation!

A recent report by the Northern Ireland All Party Group proposes 57 recommendations to tackle gambling-related harm.

Discover how the introduction of a new gambling regulator and financial levy could reshape the industry.

Stay informed on these pivotal changes and their potential impact on the future of gambling in Northern Ireland.


Report Supports Introduction of New Regulator and Gambling Levy in Northern Ireland

The Northern Ireland All Party Group on Reducing Harm Related to Gambling has published a comprehensive report that outlines 57 recommendations aimed at addressing the growing concerns surrounding gambling-related harm. Central to the report is the call for gambling to be recognized as a public health issue, akin to alcohol and tobacco. This recognition forms the basis for the proposed imposition of a financial levy on gambling operators, which would fund essential research, education, and prevention initiatives.

According to the Belfast News Letter, the report draws parallels between gambling, alcohol, and tobacco, advocating for similar public health approaches. It also reinforces existing proposals for the creation of a new independent gambling regulator, a move seen as crucial for effective oversight and management of gambling activities.

The All Party Group (APG) launched its inquiry into approaches to gambling-related harms in December 2022. Over a period extending to January 2024, the inquiry gathered oral evidence from 30 individuals and written submissions from 45 individuals and organizations. This extensive consultation aimed to inform future policy and ensure that diverse perspectives were considered.

A significant finding highlighted by the APG is that 2.3% of people in Northern Ireland have a gambling problem, a rate four times higher than in Great Britain and three times higher than in the Republic of Ireland, based on a survey by the Department for Communities. This alarming statistic underscores the urgency of implementing robust measures to mitigate gambling-related harm.


The Stormont APG emphasized the importance of shifting the focus from individual behaviors to the broader public health impact of gambling. Research from International Gambling Studies suggests that the typical problem gambler can affect around six other people, illustrating the wide-reaching consequences of gambling issues.

The last major legislative update in Northern Ireland’s gambling laws occurred in May 2022 with the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries, and Amusements Bill, which provided the first significant changes since the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries, and Amusements Order 1985. This legislation introduced a code of practice and allowed betting shops to open on Sundays and Good Friday. However, it did not address online gambling, which is expected to be tackled in a subsequent phase of regulatory reform.

Key Recommendations and Implications

The report’s 57 recommendations cover a broad spectrum of regulatory and public health measures. Among the most impactful are the establishment of a new independent gambling regulator and the introduction of a financial levy on gambling operators. The proposed levy aims to generate funds necessary for conducting research, educating the public, and implementing prevention programs targeted at reducing gambling harm.

The report also advocates for enhanced public health strategies, drawing on the successful models used to regulate alcohol and tobacco. This includes public awareness campaigns, support services for those affected by gambling, and stringent advertising regulations to limit the exposure of gambling promotions to vulnerable populations.


Future Legislative Developments

With the groundwork laid by the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries, and Amusements Bill, the next phase of legislative reform will likely focus on online gambling. This area remains largely unregulated in Northern Ireland, posing significant risks as the popularity of online gambling continues to grow. Addressing this gap is critical to providing comprehensive protection against gambling-related harm.


The Northern Ireland All Party Group’s report marks a significant step towards modernizing the region’s approach to gambling regulation. By recognizing gambling as a public health issue and proposing a new regulatory framework and financial levy, the APG aims to reduce the prevalence and impact of gambling-related harm. As these recommendations are considered for implementation, stakeholders across the industry will need to adapt to ensure compliance and support the broader goal of protecting public health.

In summary, the proposed changes present an opportunity to create a safer and more regulated gambling environment in Northern Ireland. With a focus on research, education, and prevention, the region can lead the way in responsible gambling practices and provide a model for others to follow. Stay tuned for further developments as these recommendations progress through the legislative process and shape the future of gambling in Northern Ireland.


Jerome, a valuable addition to the Gamingo.News team, brings with him extensive journalistic experience in the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry was sparked during his college years when he participated in local poker tournaments, eventually leading to his exposure to the burgeoning world of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now utilizes his accumulated knowledge to fuel his passion for journalism, providing the team with the latest online scoops.

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