Written Answers. - Gaming Licence.

19.

asked the Minister for the Environment if, in view of the recent decision of the High Court granting a gaming licence that the question of planning permission or otherwise did not enter into the argument but purely the character of the person applying for the gaming licence, he will now introduce legislation urgently in order to prevent the capital city from being taken over by gaming hall casinos over which Dublin Corporation would have no control.

The control of gaming is governed by the provisions of the Gaming and Lotteries Acts, 1956 to 1979, responsibility for which rests with the Minister for Justice. Under these Acts gaming in amusement halls and funfairs organised and run for profit, is illegal in an area unless the relevant local authority have adopted the provisions of Part III of the Gaming and Lotteries Act, 1956, in respect of that area and a licence under the Acts is in force in respect of the premises. I understand that Dublin City Council have adopted these provisions in respect of the whole of the County Borough of Dublin.

The licensing of a building for gaming purposes under the Gaming and Lotteries Acts does not confer exemption from planning control. Development involving the provision of, or the change of use to, a gaming hall, is subject to the same planning controls as any other development and, in determining a planning application involving such development, the planning authority (or An Bord Pleanála on appeal) is required to consider issues relevant to the proper planning and development of the area. I am not aware of any High Court decision which detracts from the powers of planning authorities in relation to gaming premises and I have no proposals, therefore, to amend the law in this regard.