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Question

115. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason the 2014 EU consumer protection guidelines for online gambling have not been implemented in view of a recent study carried out by a person (details supplied). [8545/19]

Answer

Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy David Stanton): The Deputy will be aware that the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has policy responsibility for general consumer protection legislation, while the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has overall responsibility for the enforcement of general consumer protection legislation.
The 2013 General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill contained a number of provisions relating to the protection of consumers of gambling services. Officials involved in the preparation of the General Scheme also had an input into the 2014 guidelines produced by the European Commission, through participation on the Commission's Expert Group on Gambling Services. A sizeable component of the guidelines are reflected in the 2013 Scheme's provisions.
In the Report referred to by the Deputy, implementation of these voluntary guidelines has generally occurred in jurisdictions where there is a dedicated regulatory authority for gambling. Ireland does not currently have a dedicated regulatory authority for gambling.
However, I am pleased to inform the Deputy that an Inter-Departmental Working Group on Gambling was established as a result of the Government Decision of 10 January 2018 to review the 2013 General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill and all relevant developments since. The Group was also tasked with developing proposals for the establishment of a gambling regulatory authority.
I chaired this Group, comprising all stakeholder Departments and the Office of the Attorney General which met on six occasions between February 2018 and January 2019. I was very much concerned that the Group should review measures to increase the protection of those persons who consume gambling products. This included the 2014 European Commission Guidelines, the provisions of the 2013 General Scheme and any other relevant matters arising since. My intention is that the establishment of a gambling regulatory authority will introduce an improved licensing and compliance regime and a regulatory environment that can ensure fairness and transparency for persons engaged in gambling. Such measures can also assist in the greater protection of persons vulnerable to addiction.
The Group's Report is currently being finalised and I hope to bring it to Government for consideration as soon as possible.