Dáil Éireann - Volume 621 - 20 June, 2006
Written Answers. - Proposed Legislation.
Mr. F. McGrath Mr. F. McGrath
Mr. F. McGrath asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason for amending the Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956 in view of the fact that over 800 people will become unemployed from an association (details supplied) as a direct consequence; and if his attention has been drawn to the fact that 23 out of 25 EU Member States have a regulated casino sector. [23331/06]
Mr. McDowell Mr. McDowell
Mr. McDowell:The Gaming and Lotteries Act 1956 prohibits casino-type operations, and I am strongly of the view that there should be no departure from settled policy in this area.
As I already indicated in an earlier Parliamentary Question (No. 409 on 4 April 2006) I have concerns about the enforceability of the present law as it applies to casino-style operations and the scope for use of such operations for money-laundering. There has been concern for some time about the scope that casinos offer for money laundering and the concealment of the proceeds of crime. This was highlighted in a recent report of an evaluation by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) — the leading international anti-money laundering organisation — of Ireland’s anti-money laundering legislation and other measures. In that Report, the FATF evaluation team expressed their concern and stated that ”. . . . . this system [of private clubs operating as casinos] does create the potential for real AML/CFT (Money Laundering/Financing of Terrorism) risks.
I also indicated in that reply that I intended to bring forward proposals for further changes to the gaming and lotteries legislation that will facilitate the prosecution of offences and the closing down of establishments engaged in such illegal operations. It is my intention to seek Government approval within the next few weeks for these changes, to be included, by way of Committee Stage amendments to the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2006.
My officials recently met with representatives of The Gaming and Leisure Association of Ireland in connection with this matter and the Association made a written submission to the Department following that meeting; in both those contexts the matters referred to in the Deputy’s question were raised.
Dáil Éireann 621 Written Answers. Proposed Legislation.