Gambling Bill deals cruel hand ­ BBPA

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Related tags: Public house, Gambling, Bbpa

The forthcoming Gambling Bill will hit small pubs, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has told the Joint Committee on the Bill. The BBPA...

The forthcoming Gambling Bill will hit small pubs, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has told the Joint Committee on the Bill. The BBPA told the committee of MPs that the proposed reforms are anti-competitive and could pose a threat to the viability of many pubs. The proposed relaxation of Britain's gambling laws in the Bill will help fuel a gambling boom in big-money casinos, but squeeze out the casual flutter of the pub fruit machine and damage the income of licensees, the trade body argued. The BBPA claims the reforms will dent the pub trade where fruit machines provide fun for customers and valuable income for pubs and landlords. Dr Martin Rawlings, director of pub and leisure at the BBPA, said: "We're being squeezed out of the game which is hitting landlord's pockets hard. What is clear is the proposed deregulation could lead to a rapid expansion of large casinos and remote gambling via the internet while the traditional machine market, such as in the pub, will suffer." The BBPA said one source of concern is the way that fixed odds betting machines, which have high stakes and offer huge payouts in bookmakers' shops, have been allowed to escalate whereas tough restrictions on pubs have stayed in place. It said that even though prize money from pub machines was increased from £15 to £25 just over two years ago, the numbers of customers playing machines in pubs had continued to decline in recent years because casinos and bingo clubs were allowed to pay out bigger prizes.

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