21/02/2003

Sunday betting on course says Minister

Social Development Minister, Des Browne has announced his intention to relax the betting law to allow on-course Sunday betting.

The move is part of a package of changes that will bring the local betting and gaming law more closely into line with the rest of the UK.

Mr Browne said: “I intend to bring forward legislation to provide a number of modest relaxations of the legislative controls on betting and gaming in Northern Ireland, including a change to allow on-course Sunday betting.

“Racing on Sunday is already allowed and I know race goers and other racing interests will welcome the opportunity of on-course Sunday betting.

“This is a limited relaxation of the law on Sunday betting and the current prohibition on Sunday betting in bookmaking offices will stay. When the law is changed, people will be able to choose whether or not they wish to go to a racetrack and bet on a Sunday.

"I very much hope the legislation needed to implement the changes will eventually take the form of a Bill the Assembly can vote on and that, in any event, there will be consultation with those interested when the draft legislation is published for comment."

The Minister also announced that important new legislation would be introduced to protect the rights of betting workers who do not want to work on Sundays.

Mr Browne also confirmed that there will be some easing of present restrictions on the operation of bookmaking offices, bookmaking on racetracks, retailing of football pools competitions, the operation of gaming machines, and the notice and waiting periods for registration of clubs under the 1985 Order and the advertising of bingo.

(MB)

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