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Deyan Dimitrov November 23, 2023 3 min read
UK Government Reaffirms Continued Support for Arcade and Amusement Sector
The long-awaited official response to the Gambling Act 2005 Review should arrive soon, allowing industry stakeholders to better adapt to the upcoming changes
UK Secretary of State for Sport, Gambling, and Civil Society, Stuart Andrew, has confirmed the imminent release of the government’s response to the initial round of consultations concerning the white paper into the Gambling Act 2005 review. Addressing arcade and amusement sector representatives, Andrew emphasized the government’s recognition of the sector’s vital economic contributions.
Collaboration Remains Vital for Effective Regulations
Expressing gratitude for stakeholders’ active participation in the land-based gambling consultation, Andrew highlighted the importance of evidence-based policy formulation, recognizing Bacta’s significant role in representing the sector and providing invaluable insights. He also emphasized the sector’s vital economic contributions, generating a collective turnover of £1.6 billion and supporting numerous jobs nationwide.
Andrew acknowledged the sector’s challenges in the face of COVID-19 and escalating energy costs, reiterating the government’s commitment to supporting sustainable operations. He added that the White Paper’s modernizing measures were vital to fostering a healthy, customer-focused market and highlighted the benefits of the sector’s continued collaboration with the UK government.
We are keen to hear from industry and will take all evidence we receive into consideration when making a final decision.Stuart Andrew, UK Secretary of State for Sport, Gambling, and Civil Society
According to Andrew, the White Paper proposals aimed to sustain industry operations while safeguarding customers facing gambling-related harm. Commenting on the proposed reforms, particularly the revision of the 80/20 rule and the introduction of direct cashless payments on gaming machines, Andrew stressed the need for an evidence-led approach to arrive at a balanced solution.
The Government Alleviated Many Stakeholder Concerns
Delving into some of the latest updates regarding the consultation, Andrew reaffirmed the government’s commitment to introducing an age limit on ‘cash out’ Category D slot machines, applauding Bacta’s leadership in undertaking a voluntary ban on under-18s in 2021. He clarified that the devices would remain accessible to adults in Family Entertainment Centres, denying any plans to relocate them to age-restricted areas.
The Secretary of State concluded by outlining the government’s intended timelines for implementation, assuring stakeholders of forthcoming clarity on the measures. He also encouraged industry participation in the ongoing consultation on the statutory levy, emphasizing the government’s goal of directing sustainable funding toward gambling research and support services.
Andrew and Sarah Fox, Deputy Director for Gambling and Lotteries, welcomed questions, signaling an ongoing commitment to engaging with stakeholders as the government progresses toward a sustainable policy framework. While the ongoing consultations have raised concerns regarding potential delays amidst several contentious decisions, lawmakers have stressed that they will finish by the 2024 elections, ensuring the legislation’s completion.