Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Northern Ireland bookies could open on Sunday, says Attwood

Bookmaking offices in Northern Ireland could open on a Sunday, the Social Development Minister has said.

Prizes and stakes may also increase in line with Britain under reforms being considered.

But Alex Attwood said new measures could be put in place to help gambling addicts. These include imposing a levy on the industry to fund research and treatment of problem gamblers as well as introducing social responsibility codes for providers.

The minister said: “Close supervision of the industry is needed to keep crime out of gambling and promote fairness.

“I welcome views on creating a single licensing body with new powers to impose penalties on gambling operators for breaches of licensing conditions.”

At present bookmakers cannot open on Sunday. Under the proposals they would be allowed to do so and the minister believes this would benefit the local economy. Consideration is also being given to increasing limits on the amount of stakes and prizes. This could provide additional revenue for the industry while discouraging excessive and illegal gambling.

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