8. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the work within his Department to regulate and control the gambling sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42512/18]
Deputy David Stanton: I am happy to update the Deputy on developments to reform our legislation in the gambling sector as far as the Department of Justice and Equality is concerned.
First, the Government has prepared amendments to update the current Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956. These changes will ensure the better promotion and regulation of the various gaming and lottery type activities which take place, primarily at local level. These activities are important for charitable, sporting and philanthropic fundraising purposes. The gaming and lotteries (amendment) Bill is being drafted by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel. I hope to receive a text for publication by the end of this session.
Second, the Government, on 10 January 2018, approved several proposals to update the 2013 general scheme of the gambling control Bill. Critically, the Government approved a proposal to establish an independent regulatory authority for the gambling industry. The 2013 proposal had been to have the regulatory function essentially contained within the Department. This decision reflected our consideration that an independent body would be best placed to conduct the complex range of licensing, regulating, monitoring, inspection and enforcement tasks of the gambling industry in all of its manifestations.
To advance the review of the 2013 general scheme, I chaired an interdepartmental working group on gambling comprising all stakeholder Departments and the Office of the Attorney General. The group met on five occasions between February and June of this year. It reviewed all of the provisions of the 2013 scheme, as well as other relevant developments since. The group is preparing its report, which I hope to bring to the Government for consideration as soon as possible.