It can always be difficult to strike a balance between allowing gambling and yet making sure that those with a gambling problem are protected. The subject has once again been in the Irish gambling news when a proposal was put on the table to allow gambling establishments in Northern Ireland to open on Sundays, which of course they already do in the whole of the UK and the Republic. The Minister for Social Development Mr. Alex Attwood is proposing a number of measures, including the Sunday opening, but also a new code of conduct for bookmakers and their social responsibilities. It has been reported that Northern Ireland has a much greater number of problem gamblers than the rest of the country. In his own words Mr. Attwood said ‘ my priority will be the public interest, striking a balance between developing gambling as a leisure pursuit and minimising its harmful effects. These have been the standards I have adopted, and am adopting in regulating other industries including the drinks industry and the shops trade’. According to several stories in the Irish gambling news, not everybody is in favour of this proposed liberalisation but as Sunday shopping, online gambling and even gambling at a race track are all permissible, it seems a small step to allow bookmakers to open as well. The gambling industry itself seems to welcome the proposals with Paddy Power showing support and with recent gambling news from Ladbrokes, who have approached 80 shops in the North, that the over the counter trade in Ireland has dropped by some 12%, they are unlikely to oppose an extra day of trading in the week.