Last year, DCMS consulted on proposed changes to gambling rules, following the government's White Paper on modernising gambling law.  A series of key proposals specifically relating to the land-based gambling sector were outlined in the White Paper, including measures to adjust what the government said were outdated regulatory restrictions applying to the sector.

The government had announced that it will implement the following measures by laying new regulations before parliament:

  • Relaxation on casino rules: allowing 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 and allowing smaller 1968 Act casinos more than 20 machines, on a pro rata basis commensurate to their size, and permitting betting in all casinos.
  • Machines in arcades and bingo halls: allowing a 2:1 ratio of Category B to Category C and D gaming machines in arcades and bingo halls, implemented on a device type basis.
  • Cashless payments on gaming machines: removing the prohibition on the direct use of debit cards on gaming machines, subject to the introduction of appropriate player protection measures.
  • Introduction of a legal age limit of 18 for certain gaming machines: protecting children and young people by banning anyone under the age of 18 from playing low stake Category D slot-style machines that pay out cash.
  • Licensing authority fees: increasing the maximum chargeable premises licensing fees by 15%.

These changes are intended to modernise the land-based gambling sector and help it to thrive sustainably. This includes aiming to ensure that appropriate safeguards against gambling-related harm are in place.

However, with the looming General Election, there may not be time to lay the required regulations and push through the changes - we'll have to see if the new government (whoever they may be) will pick up the baton.  Watch this space for more news!