Maskey calls for gambling laws to be updated
The Stormont Executive should press Downing Street for better regulation on gambling, MLA Alex Maskey has said.
Sinn Fein's Mr Maskey, who chairs the Social Development Committee, expressed concern about the impact of online gambling.
He said increasing numbers of people were being drawn into gambling addiction.
"We need to make sure that those people who fall foul of that are protected in some way or other," he said.
Some bookmakers in Northern Ireland want to be allowed to open on Sundays in a bid to keep up with online gambling used by increasing numbers to place bets through computers or mobile telephones.'Enticed'
"There certainly is a growing industry there, it's a growing sector" Mr Maskey said.
"Therefore, I believe it's a growing problem, because the more people that are enticed into that web, for most people it may be very interesting and they may be well able to control it, the law of averages tells us some people fall foul of that.
"The department here, if it wishes to do anything on the gambling legislation, needs to say what it is going to do."
Mr Maskey said his committee was "in somewhat of a limbo because we are waiting to hear whether the department or the minister are actually intending to do anything".
"If they tell us they are intending to do nothing, then I think our committee would take the view that the department, at the very least, needs to lobby whatever government department has the responsibility for this type of industry, because it does cause harm to members of the public which we represent."