Northern Ireland news

RTÉ bars northern viewers from phone-in competitions

GAA pundit Joe Brolly with Ryan Tubridy on The Late Late Show, which is among the shows affected by the change
Brendan Hughes

IRELAND's state broadcaster RTÉ has stopped allowing northern viewers to enter its premium rate phone-in competitions.

Such competitions on its TV, radio and online services have been restricted to residents in the Republic.

RTÉ said the decision follows a review and arises from different regulations north and south.

Popular programmes affected include The Late Late Show, which previously offered a Northern Ireland number as an option for phone-in competitions.

An RTÉ spokesman said: "Following a review and arising from differences in the appropriate regulations in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, RTÉ has made the decision to limit entry into premium rate competitions on its television, radio and online services to residents in the Republic of Ireland only."

Read More: RTÉ head of sport says broadcaster does not stop people in the north watching gaelic games

When asked about the current premium rate competition rules in Northern Ireland, Stormont officials said prize competitions must involve a "substantial degree of skill" rather than uncomplicated or easy answers.

RTÉ said the decision follows a review and arises from different regulations north and south

The Department for Communities (DfC) told the Derry Journal that gambling law reform plans were agreed by the executive in 2012 but were never progressed.

"The Betting, Gaming, Lotteries and Amusements (NI) Order, 1985 prohibits the conduct of any prize competition in which success does not depend to a substantial degree on the exercise of skill," the department told the newspaper.

"In 2012, the NI Executive agreed that a Bill should be prepared to reform the law on gambling but, due to competing priorities within the former Department for Social Development, the Bill was never completed.

"Any new proposed changes to Northern Ireland gambling law would be for an incoming minister to determine."

Northern Ireland has not had a devolved government since the executive collapsed in early 2017, leaving civil servants to lead departments in the absence of ministers.

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