66. Deputy Anne Rabbitte asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to put in place any new measures relating to age restrictions in gambling laws. [40306/16]
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 in drafting 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.
The new legislation will have consumer protection generally as one of its core principles, and it is envisaged that it will include several measures aimed at assisting and protecting vulnerable persons, including young persons.
It will include prohibitions on the employment of young persons, they will not be permitted to participate in gambling and there will be arrangements for age verification checks by licence holders. It is envisaged that the regulatory body proposed in the legislation will include a dedicated inspectorate whose main task will be to monitor compliance by licence holders with the terms of their licence and with the new legislation generally.
It is intended to proceed with this legislation at the earliest feasible opportunity. 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 published in 2013 by way of taking account of intervening developments and technologies in the gaming sector. This 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 pressing areas of concern, intended to be dealt with in the Bill, which could be dealt with sooner in the new year by separate legislative measures and this is being actively considered. This will be augmented by the completion of the more complex work on the main Bill for Government approval and publication later during 2017.