Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Questions (374, 375)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

374. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans, if any, to legislate for the issue of underage persons engaging in online/remote gambling; legislative proposals he has in relation to regulating the gambling industry such as introducing water-shed times for television advertising and advertising restrictions that are currently used in the tobacco and alcohol sector to protect those underage from engaging in unhealthy gambling activity; if his attention has been drawn to certain populations being specifically targeted by advertising campaigns used by the gambling industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11075/13]

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Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

375. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to bring forward legislative measures to deal with the level of exposure children and young adults have to horse racing promotion; his plans to address this to bring horse racing promotion regulation in line with that of alcohol and tobacco regulation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11076/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 374 and 375 together.

The Deputy raises a number of concerns about current gambling practices, mentioning in particular the conduct of advertising and promotions especially where those activities are directed at young persons. I hope to bring the Heads of a new Bill, provisionally entitled the Gambling Control Bill, to the Government soon, for its approval and for authorisation to have a Bill drafted. I am proposing that the new Bill should replace current systems. It will be a comprehensive measure, establishing a single regulatory regime to cover betting and gaming, whether by terrestrial or remote means and will include gambling on virtual and actual events.

My plans to reform the law on gambling arose from the realisation that the current laws are seriously outdated and need replacement by new statutory provisions that address current practices and lifestyles. The new legislation will have consumer protection as its core objective, with particular emphasis on the protection of vulnerable persons, which, of course, includes young persons. I will be including measures that will require licence holders to act in a socially responsible way. The measures will include controls on advertising, promotions and sponsorship. I envisage the creation under the new legislation of, in effect, a new inspectorate to promote compliance and it will have a full range of enforcement powers. I plan to make the Heads available on my Department's website following their approval by the Government, while formal drafting is under way.