Trade Bodies Welcome Consultation On Gaming Machines In Pubs And Venues

Leading pub trade bodies have welcomed the consultation published by Government today, which seeks views on various matters relating to gaming machines in pubs and other venues.

The measures on which views are sought include the use of debit card payments on machines and player protections to promote responsible gaming, all of which will help future proof the gaming offer in pubs.

The Gambling Act Review white paper published in April 2023 set out the government’s plans for modernising the regulation of gambling in Great Britain. This included a number of measures to adjust outdated regulatory restrictions applying to the land-based gambling sector.

Restrictions on supply were originally viewed as an important protection in the 2005 Act, but in the light of the availability of remote gambling the characteristics of products and quality of monitoring have assumed greater importance.

The proposals that the government are seeking views on include:
• Relaxation of casino rules: allowing large casinos to increase the number of their gaming machines to 80, allowing smaller casinos more than 20 machines, on a pro rata basis commensurate to their size and permitting betting in all casinos.

• Machines in arcades and bingo halls: changing the 80/20 ratio governing higher to lower stake gaming machines to enable venues to better meet customer demands and save on energy costs.

• Cashless payments on gaming machines: helping future-proof the industry by consulting on the player protections needed to remove the prohibition on the direct use of debit cards on gaming machines.

• Introduction of a legal age limit of 18 for certain gaming machines: protecting children and young people by banning anyone under the age of 18 from playing low stake Category D slot machines that payout cash.

• Licensing authority fees: ensuring that licensing authorities have the funding they need to carry out their licensing and enforcement duties for premises licences.

In a joint statement, UKHospitality and the British Beer and Pub Association said:

“This consultation is a welcome step towards a much needed review of issues that could protect the longevity of safe and enjoyable gaming in pubs.

“UKH and BBPA work closely on gaming issues and our joint group will feed in via the associations, no doubt with one voice and unanimity.”

The consultation is open until October 4 2023