Northern Ireland’s gambling regulations have been overhauled for the first time in over four decades. The approval of the laws came in March and recently, the initiative has received royal assent effectively making it law.
The Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements Bill alters various sections of the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements Order 1985, which formerly governed gaming in Northern Ireland. Now that it is law, gamers and gambling operators in the territory can start preparing for the upcoming gambling regime.
This was just the first step in a strategy to revamp gambling regulations, with intentions to draft legislation to handle internet gaming in Northern Ireland in the future. Going forward, betting businesses can now open on Sundays and Good Fridays. These gambling operators will, however, will be forced to close on Christmas Day as it has always been in previous regimes.
According to the new regulations, allowing anybody under the age of 18 to use a gaming machine is also now illegal. Anyone convicted of this crime faces a six-month jail sentence. There will also be an obligatory charge on licensees, as well as a code of conduct for those who have licenses. All these are meant to help with regulatory oversight over the lucrative iGaming sector.
Keeping Up With the Rest of the UK
Northern Ireland, while being a member of the United Kingdom, has its own gaming legislation. The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) is in charge of ensuring that all authorized casinos and bookmakers follow the country’s gambling regulations. However, Northern Ireland is also exempted from this since it has its own gambling laws.
Northern Ireland’s gambling regulations are now in line with those of the Republic of Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, thanks to the new bill that was just signed into law. Roughly 300 betting shops are presently open in the country, employing around 1,500 people. Having a more stable gambling regime will be great for their survival and longevity as the sector continues to grow.