BGC Calls for Urgent Implementation of Casino Modernisation Plans

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Standards body The Betting and Gaming Council has welcomed the modernisation plans for casinos, and called for their swift implementation.

Proposals outlined by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, in their White Paper consultation response on land-based betting and gaming, included a host of modest, but mission critical, modernisation measures.

While it will take time to consider the full impact of the proposals, they did include the introduction of cashless payments, new rules on gaming machines allocations and allowing all casinos to offer sports betting for the first time.

In a further move welcomed by the BGC, the government said the Gambling Commission would consult on player protection measures to ensure the correct standards are in place where debit card payments are used on gaming machines.

While these proposals are welcome, the BGC urged ministers to act swiftly to implement the plans, so businesses could improve their offer to customers without delay.

Michael Dugher, CEO and Acting Chair of the Betting and Gaming Council, said: “Casinos are a vital pillar of the UK’s leisure, hospitality and tourism sector and we welcome the Government’s consultation response which is positive progress on the modest, long-overdue but mission critical modernisation reforms needed for the land-based casino sector to compete and thrive.

“Casinos currently employ more than 10,000 people, contribute £300m annually in tax and generate an estimated £800m a year to the UK economy.

“Much needed reforms on cashless payments, gaming machine allocations and allowing all casinos to offer sports betting will strengthen the sector to better meet the needs and expectations of their customers.

“While we welcome these proposals, attention must now shift to the timeline for implementing policy changes and we urge the Government to urgently set out a clear timeline for progressing the relevant legislation to make them reality for our members.

“Too many casinos have sadly closed in recent years as successive administrations failed to deliver the changes we needed to protect jobs and growth. The BGC and our fantastic casino members have campaigned for these new measures for years to allow businesses to modernise, innovate and grow, and we strongly welcome the Government’s approach to ensure casinos are better placed to make that happened.”

The new proposals were outlined in a Written Ministerial Statement, by Minister for Sport, Gambling and Civil Society Stuart Andrew MP.

Announcing the new measures, he said: “As set out in the Gambling Act Review white paper, the measures we consulted on are therefore necessary to modernise the outdated and overly restrictive regulations that apply to the land-based gambling sector.”

Casinos are a vital pillar of the regulated betting and gaming sector, as well as the leisure, tourism and hospitality sector. In London alone, they deliver an additional £100m to the capital’s economy. Each month around 22.5m adults in Britain enjoy a bet, whether it’s buying a lottery ticket, having a game of bingo, visiting a casino, playing online or having a wager on football, horseracing and other sports.

The regulated betting and gaming industry, including the land-based sector, already makes a huge economic contribution throughout the UK, with BGC members supporting 110,000 jobs, generating £4.2bn in tax and contributing £7.1bn to the economy. Meanwhile, the most recent NHS Health Survey for England estimated that 0.4% of the adult population are problem gamblers.

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