Northern Ireland to Overhaul Its 35-Year-Old Gambling Laws

The lawmakers of Northern Ireland have recently announced a major overhaul of the existing gambling laws that have been in place for 35 years. Namely, the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries & Amusements (NI) Order 1985, which currently regulates gambling
The lawmakers of Northern Ireland have recently announced a major overhaul of the existing gambling laws that have been in place for 35 years. Namely, the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries & Amusements (NI) Order 1985, which currently regulates gambling in the state, does not keep up with the industry’s technological advancements and overall changes. That is why the Department for Communities has luckily acknowledged the dire need for improvement.

A completely new regulatory framework is expected to be presented to the legislators by Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey in the upcoming weeks, one that has been long in the making. 

In fact, in 2019, the Department carried out a consultation on the gambling laws that recorded close to 400 responses and found that an independent regulator, like the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, is absolutely necessary if the industry is going to go forward. 

Let’s see what kind of an impact these new laws might have and what type of changes can be expected. 

Two-Phase Approach 

Deirdre Hargey, the Communities Minister, has stated the change will come in two phases in developing new standards and laws. In the first phase, they will address 17 key areas, which are most likely to have the biggest impact on the country’s current state of the gambling industry. 

Some of the most notable changes deal with protecting vulnerable groups from the negative impact of gambling. The legislation will create new offences in connection to allowing children access to gaming machines. It will also include attempted cheated under the definition of cheating and impose sanctions for the offence. 

As far as the relationship with the gambling operators is concerned, we will see significant changes in the first phase. For example, the law will grant powers needed to create a statutory levy on gambling operators and establish a mandatory code of practice these licensed operators will have to abide by. Also, all gambling contracts will become enforceable in law. 

On the other hand, phase one is also supposed to bring some leniency to the existing provisions. In other words, it will permit sports betting shops and bingo clubs to open on Good Fridays and Sundays, which is in line with the wishes of over 66% of all respondents in the consultation.

The second phase of the proposed changes will not be so quickly implemented. It deals with online gambling and creating a viable framework for it, and considering that it is the most robust gambling arena of today, it is bound to require a lot of work. 

What Does the Future Hold for Online Gambling in Northern Ireland

Since the current gambling law in the country is completely outdated, players can access any offshore gambling sites that have not been regulated by the domestic courts and district councils serving as regulators at the moment. 

Also, no one can guarantee they have any licenses, which leads to concerns about the fairness of games and the overall security of players. Additional problems with these online gambling sites are the availability of roulette, blackjack, and poker games freely. These games are not even available in land-based casinos in Northern Ireland. 

It remains to be seen how the government will handle this situation and if the online gambling laws will sync with the 2005 Gambling Act in power in Great Britain, which too is under review.

Jun 30, 2021
Igor Rumyantsev
Igor is the Head of Banking and Licensing Department at GamingLicensing who has over 15 years of experience in the industry. He is responsible for game and payment system integration, iGaming product licensing, and B2B certification. Igor is an expert in the gambling sector and game licensing. He keeps a close watch on industry trends and is always open to new ideas that can improve GamingLicensing’s services and help our clients.

Other news

Feb 9, 2024

The new generation gamblers: exploring the online casino player profile

With the development of online casinos, the field of iGaming has also changed completely. How do people and casinos interact today? Even a successfully launched online casino platform can fail if the communication with customers is not set up properly. And victory will be yours if you manage to precisely meet the needs of the target group, the platform developers, the providers, and the payment systems.
The online casino & betting sector is always a vibrant and high-growth landscape, attracted by innovative opportunities from VR technology to blockchain technology. Get ready for the iGaming market to be worth over $138 billion by 2028, with an audience of over 243 million players. It's up to you whether you stand on the sidelines observing progress or become the driving force behind it!
Jan 30, 2024

Why is a gambling business license necessary?

The iGaming industry is at its peak. Over 4.5 billion people worldwide engage in online gambling at least once a year, from sports betting to roulette and online poker. However, to meet the needs and goals of its customers, a company must operate legally and gain the trust of its customers. But that's not all! Want to start a successful iGaming business? Then choose the right jurisdiction and get a license.Let's find out with the example of five regions for gambling registration, what are the advantages of licensing in specific jurisdictions, and what happens if you ignore it.
Nov 30, 2023

Legalization of Casinos in Thailand: World Giants are Ready for a New Market!

Today the focus of attention of the iGaming industry is directed to the Asian market: Macau, Singapore, India. Thailand has also come under the spotlight as a super interesting GEO for the promotion of gambling offers. Multilingualism is prevalent here and there is no official online gambling legislation. It's a good start, but before you prepare your business for a new region, let's understand the nuances of launching an online casino in Thailand.
Nov 15, 2023

India's iGaming Industry: Huge Potential & Opportunities

From 2022 onwards, the global iGaming industry has witnessed the emergence of numerous partner programs and products. India, with its massive population is actively participating in this trend. Its market in the iGaming sector is gradually gaining the title of a tidbit for giant players and small startup projects. Its scale and prospects are truly bewildering.

You can always contact us through the form below