585. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Justice if she will review the upper threshold in respect of prizes that may be raffled by charitable, sporting and community organisations to allow for the rising valuation of new houses that may be raffled in such competitions; if so, if such a change will be accomplished by a statutory instrument; if not, if primary legislation would be required; if a different threshold could apply in respect of charitable, sporting and community organisations; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [37855/21]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy James Browne): The Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Act 2019 was commenced on 1 December 2020, with all sections coming into effect.
As the Deputy will recall, there was extensive debate on this Act during its passage through the Oireachtas. The then Minister of State received many representations from a range of stakeholders at the time and these were extensively discussed and publicised.
The 2019 Act modernises the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956 and will help the better promotion of local gaming and lottery activity held primarily for charitable and philanthropic purposes, and which are an important source of funding to sporting clubs and community organisations across the country.
The 2019 Act amends the 1956 Act to provide for lotteries promoted under licence for charitable and philanthropic causes only (e.g. sports clubs, community groups, etc.). A licence, once issued by the District Court, remains valid for 12 months and the maximum prize remains at not more than €360,000, if a lottery is held as a once off event in a year. This could apply to situations where sports clubs might raffle high value items, for example, properties. The maximum prize of €360,000 was introduced to give legal certainty to the offering of one single prize.
The 2019 Act is an interim reform measure pending the comprehensive reform of gambling. 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 Q3 2021, and will seek Government approval for the drafting of the Bill on that basis. While it is possible to amend the threshold by statutory instrument, given the imminence of that legislation any changes would best be reflected there, as part of the wider reform process.
Once the Scheme of the Bill is published, I expect that there will be engagement with interested stakeholders as work on the establishment of a gambling regulator progresses. Information on how that engagement will be structured will be provided in due course. In the meantime, my Department continues to welcome any submissions that stakeholders wish to make.