800. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Justice when the gambling control Bill will be published; and if the Bill will explicitly transfer gambling addiction to the remit of the Minister for Health. [21344/21]
Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality (Deputy James Browne): 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. The Justice Plan 2021 identifies the enactment of legislation to licence and regulate the gambling industry as a key objective.
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.
As the Deputy will be aware, addiction treatment is predominately a health issue and as such is the responsibility of the Health Service Executive and the Department of Health. However, the gambling regulator may also play a part in this regard.
In March 2019, the Government published the Inter-Departmental Working Group Report on Future Licensing and Regulation of Gambling. This report refers to the social impact of gambling, including the issue of problem gambling.
The new gambling legislation will provide for the establishment of a social fund, financed through the regulator and by the industry, in the form of levies on licenced operators. The social fund will support research, information campaigns, and assist appropriate prevention programmes and addiction treatment by relevant health professionals.