Northern Ireland conducted a public survey to understand the feelings of the current status quo of the gambling rules in the country. The Department of Communities conducted the survey and has finally revealed the results.
The responses from the public have been overwhelmingly towards loosening the current limits and ensuring consumer safety.
Well, that tells a story, but one thing needs to be considered that only 382 responses were recorded with a mix of individuals and organizations. So, it can be hardly whether this is a recommendation from the entire population.
However, the Department of Communities has forwarded the request to the Ministry of Communities favoring Northern Ireland specific gambling legislation. This essentially means authorization of land-based casinos, online gambling, poker, and of course a regulatory body.
There was good enthusiasm for legalizing the land-based casinos in the responses. Around 63% of people agreed, mostly individuals than organizations.
Currently, there is no mechanism in Northern Ireland to stop a resident to access international sites and that might have prompted not so enthusiastic response of the regulatory body. All 54% of people felt the need for a regulatory body. They were evenly split in the current measures taken but the areas of concern were age verification, self-exclusion, and financial limits.
The responses to betting shops were also interesting. Currently, the Betting shops remain closed on Sunday, Good Friday, and Christmas. However, this does not apply to racetracks, gaming machines, and the national lottery.
The respondents were overwhelming in support of opening the betting shops on Sunday. However, only 60% supported to open it on Good Friday and 14% on Christmas.
Almost 62% of respondents want to keep the ‘demand test’ in place for opening a betting shop in a neighborhood that already has a number of similar operations.
For bookmaker’s shops, 65% of respondents want to increase the paltry prize limits. Currently, the maximum stake of 30p and a max payout of £8 is allowed in Northern Ireland as per the standards of Great Britain.
In another response, 65% of people want gaming machines to accept other modes of payment than coins. However, only 33% of people want the gaming machine to accept debit/credit cards.
The majority of the people (60%) want the number of gaming machines in a betting shop to be dependent on the size of the club.
In the case of the gambling advertisement, the responses are even more interesting. Almost 52% of respondents want Northern Ireland to follow Great Britain, 27% want even more restrictions and 17% are happy with the status quo.
As per the current laws, retail bookmaker ads are limited to hard copy. The gaming ads are permitted under certain circumstances.
However, the respondents want the gambling industry to fund problem gambling research, education, and treatment. They also want to apply a levy on the operators to ensure that there is a continuous flow of funds into this.