The Department for Culture Media & Sport said it intends to lay a draft regulation in Parliament in autumn 2013 with a view to implementing the amended stake and prize limits by early 2014, subject to Parliamentary approval.
The BBPA said the decision is a welcome boost for the pub trade and will ensure that machines remain an important revenue stream for pubs.
According to ALMR, since stakes and prizes were last reviewed in 2009 turnover from amusement machines has fallen by more than two thirds, but it estimates the Government’s decision will give an uplift of more than 10%.
The Government has also reintroduced the regular triennial review system of gaming machine stake and prize limits, which was in place before the Gambling Act 2005, to allow for prizes to be reviewed and adjusted on a more regular basis. The next review will take place before the end of 2016.
A statement from the DCMS read: “The evidence suggests that while the 2009 increases provided some respite to the industry, the benefits of an additional increase would help support various sectors through continuing difficult economic conditions without risking the licensing objectives.
“The Government welcomes the pledge by the British Beer and Pub Association to overhaul its code of practice on preventing underage use of gaming machines, disseminating information about sources of help for gambling problems and ensuring staff are trained in the effective deployment and control of category C machines from a social responsibility point of view. The Government will look to the industry to evaluate the success of these measures to inform future reviews.”
BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “We have pushed hard for this increase, so it is very welcome. It protects machine income, helps pubs and allows for innovation and investment in what is a very British industry. It is another example of a positive policy from the Government to support pubs, after the historic cut in beer duty earlier in the year.
“We look forward to working with the Government and Gambling Commission to ensure staff are trained, machines are supervised and that they incorporate social responsibility messaging.”
Simmonds added that the BBPA has enhanced its Category C Machines Responsible Practice code for pub operators.
'Vital revenue stream'
Kate Nicholls, strategic affairs director at the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, added: “We are delighted that the Government has recognised the competitive position of amusement machines in pubs and acted to protect this vital revenue stream. This helps to deliver a fairer market on the high street - machines in pubs are primarily about amusement and entertainment in a safe, supervised environment,” she said.