New call for action on AWP machines

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Casino, Gambling, Slot machine

Speaking at a Conservative Party gambling seminar, BACTA's chief executive Kevin Smith said he was "puzzled and frustrated" the government had failed...

Speaking at a Conservative Party gambling seminar, BACTA's chief executive Kevin Smith said he was "puzzled and frustrated" the government had failed to bring in the changes.

Despite a recommendation from gambling watchdog the Gaming Board - now known as the Gambling Commission - that the figures should be raised, no action has been taken. The board said the stake and maximum prize money for £25-jackpot fruit machines should be increased to 50p and £35 respectively under the 2005 Gambling Act.

Mr Smith said: "The past few years have been tough for our industry...pubs, clubs, arcades and bingo halls have all been affected. I am calling on the government to implement the long overdue increase in stake and prizes for all cash AWP machines. It's not as if we are asking for something radical, merely the implementation of what has already been proposed."

According to the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), the pub industry has lost £200m per year in income generated from gaming machines since 2002.

AWP machines are seen as a vital source of income for community and rural pubs, but players are being lured away by fixed-odds betting terminals in betting shops and online gambling.

Martin Rawlings, the BBPA's director of pub and leisure, who has been pushing for the rises, said last month he was concerned they may never be implemented (The Publican, April 24).

This is despite support from 142 MPs, who have signed an Early Day Motion tabled by All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group chairman John Grogan MP, urging the changes.

Mr Smith added that he wanted to see the Gambling Act introduced to ensure "a level playing field across the industry".

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has said the increases would only be implemented once the safeguards for children and vulnerable people - as part of the Gambling Act - were in place.

Related topics: Legislation

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