Lawmakers in Ireland are reportedly preparing to pass legislation that would amend current regulations and set the minimum age limit for all types of gambling at 18 while instituting revised licensing rules for local lotteries and raffles.

According to a report from TheJournal.ie news domain, Tuesday saw the government of Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar approve for a full vote the Courts and Civil Liabilities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which has been designed to modernize the Gaming and Lotteries Act of 1956 and introduce 18 as the uniform age limit for all gambling activities.

Current rules reportedly prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from buying a lottery ticket or placing a sports wager while it is also an offence for children to be inside a bookmaker. However, those aged at least 16 are permitted to enter amusement or gambling arcades that may contain slots and the new legislation would purportedly do away with this loophole and also cover carnivals, circuses and funfairs.

TheJournal.ie reported that the Courts and Civil Liabilities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill will moreover seek to clarify licensing procedures for sporting club lotteries and raffles. Existing regulations reportedly require those behind such contests to first obtain a permit from a police superintendent if the game is to feature a weekly prize pool of up to €5,000 ($5,700) while competitions offering a maximum of €30,000 ($34,200) may be allowed if the operator has the permission of a District Court judge.

But, David Stanton, the Minister of State for Justice, recently reportedly told the Irish Independent newspaper that he was concerned that such lotteries and raffles were acting without proper authority and regulation due to a lack of awareness surrounding existing laws. TheJournal.ie detailed that the Courts and Civil Liabilities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill is to increase the prize limits for these contests while the minister from the ruling Fine Gael political party is additionally preparing to introduce further amendments in the future that could establish an independent regulatory authority for the entire gambling industry and institute self-exclusion policies.

“This is an important issue,” Varadkar told TheJournal.ie. “It is also important the government puts in place a proper regulatory structure around gambling, both to regulate an industry from which many people get much pleasure but also one which gives rise to people becoming addicted, impoverished and unwell as a consequence. Legislation in this area is long overdue.”

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