102. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the timeframe for his planned reforms to the gambling control laws; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10755/18]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): The Government, on 10 January, 2018, approved the updating of the 2013 General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill. The proposed updating follows on from the review work undertaken in the Department of Justice and Equality and consultations with interested stakeholders. Changes to the Scheme will be subject to further consultations with the Office of the Attorney General and other relevant Departments.
The critical update approved by the Government was for the establishment of an independent regulatory authority for gambling. This decision was taken on the basis that such a body would be best placed to conduct the complex range of licensing, regulating, monitoring, inspecting and enforcement tasks, etc. of the growing gambling industry in all of its facets. This independent approach would also mirror the approach taken in most EU Member States and beyond.
In the context of reviewing and updating the General Scheme in all necessary aspects, I received Government approval to establish a Working Group, chaired by myself, comprising all stakeholder Departments, relevant Offices and the Office of the Attorney General. The Working Group held its first meeting on 2 February 2018, with a further meeting scheduled for 28 February. I hope that the Group can submit a final report to Government in mid to late 2018, with a revised General Scheme to follow thereafter.
The Deputy may also be aware that the General Scheme of the Civil Law and Courts (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2017 received Government approval in July 2017. This Bill will, inter alia, provide for a number of specific changes to the current antiquated Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956. These changes are limited in nature and primarily address the better regulation of fund raising activities at local level for charitable and philanthropic purposes.