Northern Ireland launches public consultation on gambling

A department in Northern Ireland will launch a public consultation in which the public will be able to comment on problem gambling.

Northern Ireland.- The Department for Communities (DfC) will launch a public consultation on problem gambling in the territory. The Christian charity CARE NI disclosed details of the proposals, in which the public will be able to comment.

MPs in Northern Ireland are getting ready to debate a report that highlights the inadequacy of existing laws. They will consider a reform on the regulations around gambling, Belfast Telegraph reported.

Mark Baillie, the charity’s police officer, welcomed the news and called it a positive move. “It’s crucial this consultation is wide-ranging and focuses on how we can get better information about the scale of problem gambling in Northern Ireland, as well as reforms to our existing laws,” he said.

DfC’s permanent secretary Tracy Meharg said that they intend to carry out a public consultation in the near future. She said that stakeholders will be involved and that the move doesn’t mean that they will favour the gambling industry.

This consultation comes two years after the department published results of a major gambling survey. The official document showed that the rate of problem gambling in Northern Ireland is four times higher than in England.

“We’re calling on MPs to use today’s debate to shine a light on the scale of problem gambling here. So our elected representatives can get on with their jobs of deciding on policies to protect vulnerable people, like problem gamblers,” he added.

“We look forward to more information from DfC on this important consultation soon. And we would only add that it’s vital the consultation is not under influence of the gambling industry,” he said.

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