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Government publishes response to recent consultation relating to the land-based sector

Positive steps proposed for industry

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCSM) published its gambling white paper back in April 2023 which included proposals for modernising regulation of the land-based sector.

Between 26th July 2023 and the 4th October 2023 a public consultation was completed regarding key proposals for the sector and 87 responses were received from a range of stake holders including the industry itself, researchers and members of the public.

Today (16th May 2024), the Government published its conclusions and proposals that will impact the sector throughout Great Britain:

  1. Casinos: Providing consistency between different types of casino premises:
    1. allowing 1968 Act (converted) casinos to increase their total gaming machine entitlement, proportionate to their size and non-gambling area. Increasing the maximum number of Category B gaming machines permitted from 20 to 80 if they meet the size requirements of Small 2005 Act casino premises.
    2. Implementation of a maximum gaming machine to table ratio of 5:1 for 1968 Act Casinos and Small 2005 Act Casinos.
    3. Permitting all casino premises to provide betting services, which was previously restricted to 2005 Act casino premises.
  2. Gaming Machines in Adult Gaming Centre arcades and Bingo halls: Allowing a 2:1 ratio of Category B to Category C and D gaming machines where devices are of a comparable size.
  3. Cashless payments on gaming machines: removing the prohibition on the direct use of debit card payments on gaming machines, subject to the introduction of appropriate player protection measures to be applied through the Gambling Commission’s Gaming Machine Technical Standards.
  4. Introduction of a legal age limit of 18 for low stake ‘cash-out’ style Category D slot-style gaming machines.  The changes will mandate the voluntary age restriction already applied by BACTA members.
  5. Raising the current fee cap that Licensing Authorities may charge for premises licences in England and Wales by 15%: The purpose being to enable authorities to undertake more enforcement and engagement activities with licensed premises. Fees for premises in Scotland are subject to devolved powers and are a consideration for the Scottish Government.

To give effect to the changes, 6 statutory instruments (regulations) will be laid before Parliament and we understand that DCMS currently aims to implement all changes except those related to cashless payments (iii above) later this year, although exact timing remains subject to Parliamentary timescales.  Due to the ongoing evaluation of player protection measures that may be introduced by the Gambling Commission through its machine technical standards, cashless payments will be introduced following a further Gambling Commission consultation.

The full consultation response can be found here.

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