Consultation outcome

UK govt. publishes new regulations for the land-based gambling sector

Reading time 2:07 min

The UK government's Department of Culture, Media and Sport has published new regulations for the land-based gambling sector. The next step for these regulations, published in response to consultation on white paper proposals, will be for them to be presented before Parliament. 

The DCMS conducted a public consultation on the measures relating to the land-based gambling sector from July 26, 2023, to October 4, 2023. The consultation was conducted to determine what changes are needed for the land-based sector in response to the growth of online gambling. 

Regarding casino measures, the DCMS stated that it would allow "1968 Act casinos to increase the number of their gaming machines to 80 if they meet the size requirements of a Small 2005 Act casino." The government will also allow smaller 1968 Act casinos to have "more than 20 machines, on a pro-rata basis commensurate to their size," while betting will also be permitted in all casinos.

For machines in arcades and bingo halls, the DCMS said it will allow a "2:1 ratio of Category B to Category C and D gaming machines" to be implemented on a device-type basis. This means "two Category B gaming machines on a cabinet device type can be made available to a minimum of one Category C or D gaming machine on a cabinet device type." The same applies to in-fills and tablets.

Regarding cashless payments on gaming machines, the DCMS will "allow direct debit card payments to be made on gaming machines, subject to the player protection measures." The account verification will be introduced via secondary legislation. Cashless payments will be limited to £100. 

Furthermore, the government stated that the UK Gambling Commission will "consult on a number of player protection measures that may be included in their Gaming Machine Technical Standards to ensure that appropriate frictions are in place when direct debit card payments are used." 

Gambling venues will be required to introduce 18+ age verification on the cash-out of Category-D slot-style machines, and it will be made a criminal offense to "invite, cause, or permit someone under the age of 18 to use these machines." 

It is also proposing that the industry "fund, conduct, and, crucially, report on the outcomes of voluntary test purchasing to DCMS", while it works with relevant trade bodies and operators "to understand the feasibility of this proposal and the frequency of any reporting to DCMS." 

As for licensing authority fees, the DCMS will increase the maximum premises license fees that can be charged by local authorities in England and Wales by 15% to "fund their enforcement and administrative gambling duties on a cost recovery basis." Licensing authorities had asked for a 30% increase while gambling operators pushed for 10%. Scotland sets its own fees. 

In total, 87 responses to the consultation were received from several stakeholders, including researchers, adult gaming center operators, bingo operators, campaign organizations, casino operators, individuals, local authorities, pub representatives, and responses from the wider gambling industry. 16 additional responses were also received for a supplementary consultation to gather further evidence on the reform of the 80/20 rule.

Some gambling industry participants included 888 William HillBACTABetfredBetting and Gaming CouncilBuzz GroupEntainGambleAwareGambling with LivesGamCareGenting Casinos UKHippodrome CasinoMerkur Bingo & Casino Entertainment UKMerkur SlotsRank Group and Wexel Gaming.

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