Gambling Machines Under Scrutiny by UKGC

UKGC to review gambling machines.

Gambling machines to come under the spotlight after the UKGC proposes a new set of regulations. (Image: Ian Georgeson)

The fate of gambling machines in the UK is set to come under scrutiny from the UK Gambling Commission 9UKGC) after calls for tighter regulations on the industry.

Announced earlier this week, the UKGC has opened new consultation which will propose, discuss and eventually implement new guidelines that will ensure greater control over the highly divisive gambling machines.

Gambling Machines a Popular Choice

Although anti-gambling activists refer to these machines as “crack cocaine” for gamblers, the machines are highly popular and have become a common feature of betting shops across the UK in recent years.

However, after reviewing the laws regarding category B betting machines (betting terminals that allow players to be up to £100), the UKGC believes there are some holes that could be open to interpretation.

To fill in these holes and ensure that the proper safeguards are in place to protect the most vulnerable, the regulator has put together proposals for a revised framework that would govern the way in which these machines are offered.

Proposals to Ensure Greater Protection

The main aim of the new proposals is to make sure that gambling machines are only in venues where players can be properly supervised. Moreover, the machines should fit in with the surrounding environment and, therefore, be confined to bingo halls, betting shops and casinos.

“Having considered the outcome of regulatory casework, emerging business models and taken external legal advice we have concluded that ‘primary gambling activity’ as a concept is open to misunderstanding and is insufficiently robust to enable effective enforcement both legally and operationally,” read a statement from the Commission.

Although the latest proposals aim to quell the issues that have arisen from the popularity of gambling machines, the UKGC is aware that there could still be problems and has called for a dialogue from those on both sides of the gambling divide.

“We are aware this has been a contentious area of policy in the past and are therefore seeking views from all interested parties on how best to achieve the above policy objectives,” the statement continued.

Despite announcing its intention to improve the laws regarding gambling machines in the UK, the Gambling Commission declined to put an end date on the issue which is understandable given the issue the current laws have caused.

In Other News…

In other news, the UK gambling industry is on the up according to the latest figures from the UKGC. Outlined in a recent report, the year-on-year figures to March 31st 2015 show that the non-remote gambling industry grew by 2 percent.

Remote gambling has also seen improvements with total revenue after regulation climbing to £1.5 billion compared to the £753 million generated before the UK’s gambling laws were put into place.

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