906. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice her plans to introduce legislation to prohibit on-line gambling websites from restricting winning customers online while putting no restriction on losing gamblers;and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42315/21]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy James Browne): My Department’s Justice Plan 2021 identifies the enactment of legislation to licence and regulate the gambling industry as a key objective. The Programme for Government gives a clear commitment to establish a gambling regulator focused on public safety and well-being, covering gambling online and in person, and the powers to regulate advertising, gambling websites and apps.
As outlined in the Justice Plan 2021, I expect to be in a position to publish the Scheme of the Bill in quarter three 2021. There is a clear path towards the regulator being fully operational in early 2023.
When it is established, the regulator will have the necessary enforcement powers for licensing, and powers to take action where individuals or operators are failing to follow rules and regulations. Operators offering activities in whole or in part online, will be subject to the licensing terms and conditions as set out by the regulator. Matters regarding enforcement will also be for the gambling regulator.
Key objectives of the regulator will be preventing gambling from being a source or support to crime, ensuring that gambling is conducted in a fair and open way for companies to make decisions in certainty, and requiring safeguards including in relation to gambling advertising.
Furthermore, given the size, complexity and technological development of the modern gambling industry and having regard to the current outdated and complex arrangements, it will be important that the regulator will be established on a sound footing and be adequately resourced to carry out this important task.
Further details on the functions and powers of the regulator will be outlined in the Scheme.