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Question

4. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to adequately regulate gaming and casinos venues; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7169/15]

Answer

Deputy Frances Fitzgerald: The Deputy is aware that there are detailed proposals in the general scheme of the gambling control Bill for the licensing of casinos in Ireland for the first time. This is the first Government to bring forward legislative proposals for changes in this area. My colleague, the Minister for Finance, is bringing forward the Betting (Amendment) Bill 2013 which was debated in the Seanad yesterday. It will extend the licensing regime to cover the operations of remote bookmakers and betting intermediaries. The activities of such operators can then be taxed.
There is no provision in Irish law for the licensing of casinos. Some 47 private member gaming clubs are registered with the Department under the provisions of section 109 of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010, as amended. The Department's anti-money laundering compliance unit conducts inspections of these premises to assess compliance with the 2010 Act. It is understood some of these clubs offer casino-type games.
Under the proposals set out, the Minister for Justice and Equality will assume a regulatory role for all forms of gambling, with the exception of the national lottery, on enactment of the Bill. As its Title indicates, the aim of the Bill is to establish a system within which gambling can take place openly, fairly and in accordance with terms and conditions, in other words, within a controlled environment. The Bill will operate on the basis that all gambling is illegal, unless it is of a type permitted by law and even if it is permitted, it may be carried on only if it is licensed and in compliance with terms and conditions attached to the licence. The general scheme is with the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel awaiting drafting. I cannot indicate precisely at this point when the Bill will be published. I take the Deputy's point, however, that this area needs to be regulated.