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Question

16. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to amend the law on the advertising of gambling; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [40307/16]

Answer

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): The general scheme of the gambling control Bill was published in July 2013 following approval by the Government and is currently being drafted by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel. The Bill, as proposed, will update all existing laws on the regulation of gambling, including betting and gaming but excluding the national lottery. It will provide for the licensing of all forms of online gambling.
The gambling control Bill will have consumer protection generally as one of its core principles, and it is envisaged that it will include several measures aimed at the protection of vulnerable persons, including children, from risks to their well-being arising from gambling. The scheme includes measures that will require licenceholders to act in a socially responsible way. These measures will include controls on advertising, promotions and sponsorship.
The Deputy may wish to note that the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland included in its most recent code, published in 2015, specific provisions relating to the advertising of gambling products. It is also worth noting that the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland recently engaged in a consultation exercise regarding a revision of its general commercial communications code. It is envisaged that the code will also include specific provisions for gambling operators.
The 2013 general scheme provides for the conferring of responsibility for all regulatory matters in this area on the Minister for Justice and Equality, including licensing, inspections and prosecutions, and envisages that these functions will be carried out by a body located within the Department of Justice and Equality. The general scheme also provides for a dedicated inspectorate to ensure compliance by licenceholders with the terms of their licences and with the new legislation generally. It is intended to proceed with the legislation at the earliest feasible opportunity and, in support of these efforts, the Government has delegated the powers of the Minister for Justice and Equality under the gaming and lotteries legislation to me as Minister of State. I have requested departmental officials to commission a review of the scheme as published in 2013 to take account of intervening developments and technologies in the gaming sector, of which there have been quite a number. The review will help to update policy in this area. The review process is ongoing and scheduled for completion by the end of this year.
Pending the bringing forward of the main Bill, which is a major undertaking, my Department is examining whether there are any individual areas of pressing concern intended to be dealt with in the Bill which could be dealt with sooner in the new year by way of separate legislative measures. This is being actively considered. This consideration will be augmented by the completion of the more complex work on the main Bill for Government approval and publication later during 2017.