Gambling Minister Tracey Crouch launched a 12-week consultation yesterday, which will focus on stake reduction to protect consumers and communities.
However, under the terms of the consultation the current stakes and prizes for the category C and D amusement machines that are allowed in pubs will remain the same. This means that the highest stake is £1 and the maximum prize is £100.
There are also no plans to change the automatic allocation of two machines per pub.
The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) responded to the news claiming that pub customers are able to gamble larger stakes on their mobile phones.
“These proposals, if implemented, would miss a much-needed opportunity to assist pubs at a time of an unprecedentedly tough trading environment. Amusement machines can be the lifeline for pub operators, who are facing so many rising costs such as business rates, beer duty and employment costs,” said ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls.
“We’re also disappointed to see the Government has not taken on board our suggestion to increase the automatic entitlement from two machines to four. This straightforward move would have unlocked a potential revenue stream for pubs without undermining social responsibility work being done by venues.
The British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds said that there should be a “modest increase” in stake and prize levels.
“It is disappointing that the Department for Culture Media and Sport is not proposing an increase in either stakes or prizes for pub machines, as we had proposed,” she said.
“Proportionate increases would keep machines as low-stake entertainment, while remaining attractive for pubgoers, so that they can continue to provide this valuable income stream for pubs.
“We will certainly be making this point in response to this latest consultation.”
The consultation will close on 23 January 2018.
It follows the Government review of gaming machines and social responsibility measures that was launched last October.