Friday, 6 September 2019

Questions (672)

Catherine Murphy


672. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of investigations and successful prosecutions that have occurred regarding instances of underage gambling in on street bookmaker shops and track side bookmakers in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36455/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy may know, section 23 of the Betting Act 1931, which is the responsibility of the Minister for Finance,  currently governs this area. The Act provides that "no licensed bookmaker – land based or remote - shall make a bet or engage in a betting transaction with a person under the age of eighteen years whether such person is acting on his own behalf or as agent for another person."

The Courts Service and An Garda Síochána have advised that they do not have the records requested for the years in question.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019 is currently passing through the houses of the Oireachtas. The Bill addresses certain deficiencies with regard to the conduct of activities regulated under the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956 and provide for the modernisation of that Act by way of, among other matters, arrangements for the better promotion of lotteries, updating certain stake and prize limits and crucially standardising the minimum gambling age at 18. More generally, efforts are ongoing in the Department to prepare comprehensive legislation to update the law on gambling, including betting. The protection of young and vulnerable persons will be a major consideration in the new legislation.