UK Government publishes new regulation for land based casinos

Lea Hogg 1 month ago
UK Government publishes new regulation for land based casinos

The UK land-based gambling sector has faced significant challenges in recent years due to business inactivity during periods of COVID-19 restrictions and rising operating costs. As a result, many venues have closed, impacting local communities through the loss of jobs and decreased economic activity. The government hopes that these new measures will help to revitalize the sector while ensuring adequate protections are in place for consumers.

In May 2023, the government initiated a regulatory reform program known as the ‘smarter regulation programme’. The aim of this programme is to enhance regulation and guidance for businesses, ensuring clarity, proportionality, and the removal of unnecessary burdens that could stifle innovation and growth.

As part of this initiative, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) released a white paper in April 2023. This document outlined the government’s plans to modernize the regulation of the gambling sector, with a particular focus on land-based gambling. The white paper proposed several key measures to update the outdated regulatory restrictions currently applied to the sector.

Public consultation and proposed measures

Between 26 July and 4 October 2023, the DCMS conducted a public consultation on these measures. After analyzing the evidence submitted, the government has decided to implement several measures:

  • Relaxation of casino rules: This includes allowing 1968 Act casinos to increase their number of gaming machines to 80 if they meet the size requirements of a Small 2005 Act casino. Smaller 1968 Act casinos will be allowed more than 20 machines, on a pro-rata basis commensurate to their size, and betting will be permitted in all casinos.
  • Machines in arcades and bingo halls: A 2:1 ratio of Category B to Category C and D gaming machines will be allowed in arcades and bingo halls, implemented on a device type basis.
  • Cashless payments on gaming machines: The prohibition on the direct use of debit cards on gaming machines will be removed, subject to the introduction of appropriate player protection measures.
  • Introduction of a legal age limit of 18 for certain gaming machines: To protect children and young people, anyone under the age of 18 will be banned from playing low stake Category D slot-style machines that pay out cash.
  • Licensing authority fees: The maximum chargeable premises licensing fees will be increased by 15 percent.

The consultation received 87 responses from a wide variety of stakeholders, including researchers, adult gaming centre operators, bingo operators, campaign organizations, casino operators, individuals, local authorities, pub representatives, and responses from the wider gambling industry.

Next steps and future implications

The government’s response provides non-remote gambling operators with clear notice of the intention to introduce the measures set out within this government response. Following the publication of this response, six regulations will be laid before Parliament.

The government is committed to ensuring that the regulation of land-based gambling is fit for the modern age and is proportionate to the risk associated with the gambling products on offer. However, it recognizes that a minority of customers do experience gambling-related harm and that it is necessary to have safeguards in place to protect customers.

Share it :

Recommended for you
Garance Limouzy
17 hours ago
Garance Limouzy
19 hours ago
Lea Hogg
21 hours ago
Christine Denosta
23 hours ago