Skip the NI Direct Bar
  • Consultations
  • Publications
  • DSD News Releases
  • Freedom of Information


Ministerial announcement

Following the public consultation on the future of gambling in Northern Ireland, the Minister Nelson McCausland announced that gambling laws will be updated and improved.
The Minister having outlined his proposals to Northern Ireland Executive released a press release outlining his proposals:
The new legislation will be underpinned by 3 main objectives, keeping crime out of gambling, ensuring fairness within the gambling industry and protecting the young and vulnerable.


The gambling law is becoming increasingly out of date and is currently under review.  A recent survey commissioned by DSD as part of the review showed that three out of four adults had taken part in some form of gambling within the past 12 months with the most popular form of gambling being the National Lottery (51%).  Over 67% had an unfavourable attitude to gambling with only 24% a favourable attitude.  It identified one in 50 adults as having a gambling problem; three times higher than in GB.


In early 2011, a public consultation was undertaken to seek views on possible changes to the current gambling law.  A total of 239 responses were received to the consultation including the views of 44 organisations.  The consultation document and analyses of the responses received are available below.
The Minister is currently giving detailed consideration to the issues identified in the consultation.

Overview of the current law

In Northern Ireland gambling (other than the National Lottery) is regulated under the Betting, Gaming, Lotteries & Amusements (NI) Order 1985 (“the 1985 Order”). The 1985 Order is modelled on much older GB law which was repealed and replaced by the Gambling Act 2005.
The 1985 Order regulates betting on tracks and in bookmaking offices; gaming, including the use, supply & maintenance of gaming machines, small scale amusements with prizes and gaming in bingo clubs; and local lotteries.
The courts & district councils license gambling activities, the Department for Social Development (NI) licenses track betting and PSNI enforces the law.
More information can be found on the Social Policy page.

Literature Review


NI Gambling Prevalence Survey 2010