The National Assembly has legislative competence to pass laws in relation to ‘sport and recreational activities’. However, it can not pass laws on ‘betting, gaming and lotteries’ since this is expressly excluded from legislative competence (see paragraph 16 of Part 1 of Schedule 7 to the Government of Wales Act 2006).
The current laws in the UK governing recreational activities are dispersed across a number of legal areas including criminal law, charity law, property law, countryside law and environment law. Not all of these legal areas have been devolved to the National Assembly. The National Assembly does not have legislative competence, for example, to pass laws on how charities are governed (this is an exception under paragraph 4 of Part 1 of Schedule 7 to the Government of Wales Act 2006). To some extent this impacts on the extent to which the National Assembly can legislate to change the existing laws which affect sport and recreation.
The core of the law in this subject is to be found in primary legislation (or ‘statutes’) made by either the UK Parliament or the National Assembly.
There is a large amount of subordinate legislation made under these Acts (such as orders, regulations and schemes). Before the devolution of power to the National Assembly in 1999, subordinate legislation was made either on an England and Wales basis or separately for Wales by the Secretary of State for Wales. A number of these pre-devolution instruments remain in force. The functions of the Secretary of State for Wales were transferred to the National Assembly for Wales in 1999 (SI 1999/672) and this included a number of the functions to make subordinate legislation in the statutes listed under ‘key legislation’ which existed at that time. From then on the National Assembly exercised the transferred powers to make subordinate legislation for Wales until 2007 when the powers to make subordinate legislation were further transferred to the Welsh Ministers on the coming into force of the Government of Wales Act 2006.