Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the timeline on the redrafted heads of the gambling control Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20860/19]
239. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the fact that the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019 as drafted threatens the closure of all land-based private members clubs here; if this is the planned intention of the provisions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20861/19]
240. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if it is planned that the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019 will apply to online gaming; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [20862/19]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): I propose to take Questions Nos. 238 to 240, inclusive, together.
The Government has outlined on a number of occasions that it recognises the need to proceed with comprehensive reform of our outdated gambling licensing and regulation. The proposals in the 2013 General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill, were reviewed by the Inter-Departmental Working Group on the Future Licensing and Regulation of Gambling. The Group's Report was approved and published by the Government on 20 March, 2019. The Report contained a significant number of recommendations concerning all aspects of gambling activity. In particular, it recommended that future responsibility for licensing and regulation of all forms of gambling, including online gambling, rest with a proposed new gambling regulatory authority.
Work in this regard is underway in my Department. This is a complex area and we must be certain that any reforms will be achievable and effective. At the time of publication of this Report, the Taoiseach indicated that work on a revised General Scheme of a Gambling Control Bill, taking account of the Working Group’s recommendations, would likely take a period of about 18 months to bring to completion.
The Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019 is an interim measure and amends the 1956 Act but it is not intended to change or extend its general scope. While the interpretation and application of the law to particular circumstances is a matter ultimately for determination by the courts and not a member of the Executive, it is intended that those types of gaming covered by the 1956 Act will continue to be regulated as before after the enactment of the Amendment Bill. The Deputy raises the matter of private members' clubs. Such clubs are not licensed under the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956 and are not intended to be affected by the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019.