Betting, gaming, lotteries and amusements

Legislation in relation to gambling (other than the National Lottery) in Northern Ireland.

Review of gambling policy, practice and law

In Northern Ireland gambling (other than the National Lottery) is regulated under the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries & Amusements (NI) Order 1985 ("the Order"). The legislation is old and complex and has not kept pace with emerging technologies and other changes. A high-level, strategic review of gambling policy, practice and law is underway.

Ministerial announcement

Following the public consultation on the future of gambling in Northern Ireland, the Minister announced that gambling laws will be updated and improved and outlined his proposals to the Northern Ireland Executive.

The new legislation will be underpinned by three main objectives, keeping crime out of gambling, ensuring fairness within the gambling industry and protecting the young and vulnerable.

Review

The gambling law is becoming increasingly out of date and is currently under review.  A recent survey commissioned by the Department as part of the review showed that three out of four adults had taken part in some form of gambling within the past 12 months with the most popular form of gambling being the National Lottery (51 per cent).  Over 67 per cent had an unfavourable attitude to gambling with only 24 per cent a favourable attitude.  It identified one in 50 adults as having a gambling problem; three times higher than in GB.

Consultation

In early 2011, a public consultation was undertaken to seek views on possible changes to the current gambling law.  A total of 239 responses were received to the consultation including the views of 44 organisations. 

Overview of the current law

In Northern Ireland gambling (other than the National Lottery) is regulated under the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries & Amusements (NI) Order 1985 (“the 1985 Order”). The 1985 Order is modelled on much older GB law which was repealed and replaced by the Gambling Act 2005.

The 1985 Order regulates betting on tracks and in bookmaking offices; gaming, including the use, supply and maintenance of gaming machines, small scale amusements with prizes and gaming in bingo clubs; and local lotteries.

The courts and district councils license gambling activities, the Department licenses track betting and PSNI enforces the law.

Literature review

NI gambling prevalence survey 2010


Related to Betting, gaming, lotteries and amusements

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Access to information

How to request information from the Department for Communities including Freedom of Information (FOI) and the use of our Publication Scheme.

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