Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Martin Kenny TD has said he is delighted that an amendment he proposed in the Dáil on Tuesday evening, December 4 resolved the issues surrounding the Gaming and Lotteries Bill.
The Ceann Comhairle allowed Deputy Kenny to propose a verbal amendment to the bill and it was accepted by and the Minister of State at the Department of Justice, David Stanton TD.
It will now progress to the Seanad.
Deputy Kenny said: “There was a very organised lobby by the commercial bingo operators against this bill, but the main objection being put forward was that there was a cap of 50% of takings at any licenced bingo game being allocated to prizes.
“My simple amendment changed that 50% to 75%, leaving it at the discretion of the operators as to how much they give as prizes. The original figure of 25% of the takings going to the charitable cause remains the same.
“The Minister made the point that commercial bingo in this state is illegal and all operators must contribute to charity as a condition of their permit (under €5,000) or licence (up to €30,000 weekly). The previous legislation did not specify how much should go to the charitable cause, but this sets it at a quarter of takings.
“The vast majority of smaller, community-run bingo games will not be affected by this legislation at all. While there was a lot of confusion about the possible repercussions of this bill, the debate tonight brought clarity and a sensible solution to the situation.
“I am delighted that this Sinn Féin amendment has ensured that bingo games and operators can continue as normal, and that the situation, which had caused concern to many bingo goers around the country, has been resolved.”