23. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956 was last reviewed in view of the increase in gaming arcades; the locations where Part III of the Act is in force; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11661/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I can inform the Deputy that over the past three years, my colleague Minister of State Stanton who has special responsibility in this area, has led an intensive review of the 1956 Gaming and Lotteries Act. We hope to publish the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill early in the current Oireachtas session. This will be an interim reform measure, pending the bringing forward of comprehensive gambling control legislation.
The amendments proposed under the Bill address certain deficiencies with regard to the conduct of activities regulated under the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956, and provide for the modernisation of that Act by way of, among other matters, arrangements for the better promotion of lotteries, updating certain stake and prize limits and standardising the minimum gambling age at 18.
Neither I nor Minister of State Stanton have any functions under Part III the 1956 Act for the licensing of gaming machines. The Deputy may wish to direct his question on location of gaming arcades under Part III to local authorities and the Revenue Commissioners.
With regard to proposals for the comprehensive reform of our gambling licensing and regulatory legislation, the Deputy will be aware that Minister of State Stanton has chaired an Inter-Departmental Working Group on Gambling, established as a result of the Government Decision of 10 January 2018 to review the 2013 General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill and all relevant developments since.
The Group comprised all relevant stakeholder Departments and the Office of the Attorney General and met on six occasions between February 2018 and January 2019.
The Group's Report is currently being finalised will be submitted to Government for consideration shortly.
The primary objective of the modernisation of gambling legislation must be to ensure the proper licensing and regulation of the many varied forms of gambling now available in the State.
A modern and effectively regulated gambling environment will ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that gambling will be an entertaining activity for the majority of those who take part in it. We will ensure that there will be enhanced consumer protection for players, effective protection for younger persons under 18 years of age and that we limit, as far as we can, the harmful effects on those who may be susceptible to addictive behaviour.