Jackpots on AWP machines in pubs should be increased, according to a new report on the UK's gambling industry, but licensees should not be allowed to take bets.
The report by the Gambling Review Body, launched this week, found that licensees should benefit from a rise in the maximum jackpot payout from £15 to £25. But it rejected trade calls for pubs to be allowed to host gambling on events such as horse racing.
The ruling met with disappointment from licensees, who had hoped for a more lenient approach to gambling. The recommended rise in AWP jackpots still leaves pubs behind private members' clubs and casinos where payouts can run into hundreds of pounds.
While a host of measures were suggested to ease restrictions on gambling at casinos, bingo halls and holiday resorts, the pub trade was left with little to gain.The British Licensed Retailers Association (BLRA) said Britain's pubs had been dealt a raw hand by the review body. "What we've been presented with is all pain and no gain," spokesman Mark Hastings said.
But Sir Alan Budd, who headed up the review, told thePublican.com that gambling had not been extended to pubs because alcohol and gambling should not be mixed.
"There are two reasons why we did not want to allow gambling in pubs," Mr Budd said. "Firstly, it shouldn't be the case that people should find themselves in places where gambling is available when they have not gone there to gamble. Secondly we do not wish to increase the amount of places where gambling is available.
"It was a difficult decision but that is why we came to our conclusion and that is also why we have also not allowed betting shops to serve alcohol."
Channel 4 celebrity racing commentator John McCririck, who was on the board that made the recommendations, told The Publican that it had been a difficult decision not to allow betting in pubs.
"I believe the main reason for this decision was because they didn't want to create a yob culture," Mr McCririck said.