Lawmakers in Ireland look likely to pass legislation that will set the legal age of 18 years for all forms of gambling in the country. The Irish Cabinet approved the Courts and Civil Liabilities Bill which has been introduced with the aim to modernise the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956, providing a number of amendments to the original Act, including the setting of the gambling age limit.
The current Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956 provides the legal framework for all gaming activities, including at amusement halls, funfairs, carnivals and circuses. The law prohibits those under the age of 18 from placing bets on sports or from buying a lottery ticket and outlaws children being inside a bookmaker. According to the current law, those over the age of 16 are able to enter amusement halls or gambling arcades that contain slot machines and the new legislation will prevent this.
The Courts and Civil Liabilities Bill will also aim to make the legislation more clear with regards to raffles and sporting club lottos and it will boost the prize pot limits and the stakes for the lottos.
Some of the changes have been provoked by recent comments by the Minister of State for Justice, David Stanton, who expressed concern that Irish lotteries and raffles held by local operators were acting without proper regulation. He claimed that many licensees were not fully aware of the laws, leading to violations.
“This is an important issue,” stated Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar.
He continued to describe the importance of putting a proper regulatory structure in place around gambling, an industry that can offer people a lot of pleasure if it is properly regulated and controlled.
“Legislation in this area is long overdue,” he concluded.
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