A discussion paper on the future regulation of gambling has been approved by the Government.

The paper outlines a number of options which the Department of Justice and Law Reform says could be the basis of any new legal framework for gambling.

The paper envisages improved protection for minors and vulnerable adults, more transparent operations by gambling providers, and more effective measures against fraud and illegal gambling.

It would cover gambling by telephone, mobile phones, internet and interactive television.

Among the options are suggestions for two kinds of casinos: registered casinos with a maximum of 15 tables, and a resort casino which would be part of a large-scale complex to include hotels, conference centre and other leisure facilities.

The paper suggests that the power of local authorities to permit or ban gaming could cease, but they could have powers in relation to planning and licencing arrangements.

The paper also suggests greater enforcement of the District Court certification processes, and legal measures to prevent problem gambling.

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern said existing gambling laws are not fit for purpose in this age of mass global communications.

He said a new regulated environment needs to reflect 21st century thinking in this area of complex public policy.