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Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2022

Section 16: Code of Practice

Section 16(1) inserts a new Article 180A (Code of practice) after Article 180 of the 1985 Order (Provision for inspection and rights of entry).

New Article 180A(1) requires the Department to issue one or more codes of practice about the manner in which facilities for gambling are provided.

New Article 180A(2) requires that the code in particular describe the arrangements that should be made to meet an expected duty of care to those using gambling facilities to include, but not be limited to, protecting persons under the age of 18 years and other vulnerable persons from gambling harm or exploitation and making assistance available to those who are or may be affected by gambling related problems.

New Articles 180A(3) and (4) respectively allow the Department to include provisions within the code in respect of how gambling facilities are advertised or described and to revise or revoke a code.

New Articles 180A(5) and (6) respectively require that a code and any revision must state when it comes into force and that the Department must publish a code and revision in a manner which it thinks is likely to bring it to the attention of those whose activities it concerns.

New Article 180A(7) allows the Department, in issuing a code, to make different provision for different cases or circumstances (whether or not by way of separate codes of practice).

New Articles 180A(8) and (9) respectively make clear that failure to comply with a provision of the code does not of itself make a person liable to criminal or civil proceedings but that a code:- is admissible in evidence in both criminal and civil proceedings; must be taken into account by a court or tribunal in any case in which it appears to them to be relevant; and must be taken into account by the Department, court or district council in the exercise of a function under the 1985 Order.

New Article 180A(10) requires that, before issuing or revising a code, the Department must consult with: organisations and persons that appear to it to represent the gambling industry in Northern Ireland; persons who have knowledge about social problems relating to gambling; persons representing district councils; the Chief Constable; and, in such a manner as the Department thinks appropriate, members of the public.

New Article 180A(10) also requires the Department to consult persons who appear to have a relevant responsibility for regulating the advertising industry in cases where any provision of a code relates to advertising as set out in Article 180A(3).

New Article 180A(11) specifies that serious, significant, continuing or multiple breaches of a code will be a ground to revoke or cancel a licence, registration or permit under Articles 27, 42, 92, 103 or 121 of the 1985 Order.

New Article 180A(12) clarifies the meaning of gambling for the purposes of this Section.

Section 16(2) amends various provisions of the 1985 Order which relate to grounds for applying for the revocation of licences, certificates or registration.  It provides that serious, repeated or continuous failure to comply with a code of practice in force under Article 180A are grounds for application for the revocation of bookmaker’s licences, bookmaking office licences, track betting licences, bingo club licences, gaming machine certificates, lottery certificates and cancellation of club registration under Articles 27(1), 28(1), 42(1), 72(1), 92(1), 103(1) and 149(1).

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