UK Casino Bosses Call for Regulation to Come into the 21st Century

UK casinos want law change.

Hippodrome CEO Simon Thomas is calling for gaming laws to come into the 21st century. (Image: thesundaytimes.co.uk/Tom Stockill)

UK casino bosses are calling for regulatory changes in a bid to ensure they can meet the demands of the modern gaming environment.

As reported by Gambling Insider, Grosvenor Casinos’ Managing Director Mark Jones told the Future of Casinos seminar that the three-tiered structure UK casinos have to follow is hurting the industry.

Under the current legislation (as laid out by the 2005 Gambling Act), casinos established under the 1968 Gaming Act can only house a total of 20 gaming machines, while “small casinos” are allowed up to 80 machines and “large casinos” can have a maximum of 150 machines.

Tiered System Leading to Inequality

According to Jones, this has not only led to London-based casinos having the capacity to offer more games and, therefore, attract more customers, but an ambiguous system. Moreover, as well as casinos outside London experiencing slower growth than those inside the capital, Jones believes customers don’t know what to expect when they step inside a venue.

“There are very often nowhere near enough machines compared to what they are expecting. Customers want the kind of experience they can get in Las Vegas, Barcelona, Macau or the major cities in France,” explained Jones.

Echoing this sentiment, Simon Thomas, the CEO of London’s Hippodrome Casino, said that he has more than 1,000 customers at peak times and only 20 slots for them to play on.

“I have queues for my slot machines and I have an awful lot of very confused people saying: You’re a casino. Why have you got so few slot machines,” Thomas told listeners at the seminar.

The UK is often seen as one of the leading lights in the iGaming industry. Thanks to a strong selection of operators, fair regulation and open borders, online gaming in the UK is regarded as some of the best in the world.

UK Casinos Lagging Behind

However, in contrast, the casino industry appears to be lacking behind the rest of the world. Unlike countries such as Spain or the US, there is a distinct lack of “mega” casinos in the UK. Thanks to restrictions on the number of games operators can offer, UK casinos often have a “smaller” feel than their international counterparts.

In fact, it’s only in the last few years that major casinos have stopped asking patrons to become members before they could enter the venue. It used to be the case that a visitor would have to sign-up using a valid form of ID and show this each time they want to go inside a play.

In contrast, Las Vegas has an open door policy which has not only made it more inviting for tourists, but one of the top gaming destinations in the world.

Although the UK has gradually relaxed its rules on memberships and started to add some larger casinos to the mix, it’s still a long way behind other countries. This appears to be the reason casino managers like Jones and Thomas are calling for change.

Indeed, if the UK is to maintain its reputation as a leading player in the betting industry, casinos need to have more ways to attract both native and visiting players.

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