Gambling Act: Triennial review of gaming machine stake and prize limits

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The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published a consultation of proposals to change (increase) the stakes and prize limits for category B, C and D gaming machines.

Responses are required by 9th April 2013. It is suggested that regulations will be in place by November 2013 to increase the stakes and prizes.

Click here for the consultation.

Before the Gambling Act 2005 review of the stakes and prize limits occurred every 3 years. The Gambling Act provides for the Secretary of State by regulation to set the stakes and prize limits (which was done in 2007) but the Act is silent on when they should be reviewed. Stakes and prizes for category C and D machines were last reviewed (increased) by regulations in 2009 and for category B machines in 2011 following lobbying from individual sectors.

This consultation invites comment on four alternative outcomes:

  1. Do nothing and leave the stakes and prize limits as they are.
  2. Raise the stakes and prize limits by the rate of inflation since 2007.
  3. Proposals made by the Industry 
  4. The Governments preferred option.

The consultation sets out 4 objectives which are as follows:

  1. Consider the relativities between different categories of gaming machine and ensure competition across the gambling industry remains balanced.
  2. Establish a baseline against which proposals for future reviews can be assessed.
  3. Encourage the growth and development of the gaming machines market in order to support economic recovery and create jobs. 
  4. To do so only to the extent consistent with player protection and gambling related harm.

The Government do not consider 1 or 2 viable as the former will do nothing to create growth to support economic recovery and jobs and the latter will essentially maintain the status quo as the increase will no create sufficient conditions to encourage growth and development of the gaming machine market.

The Industry proposal and the government proposal are very similar.

Mention is made in the consultation of prize gaming (bingo), which is the only other form of gambling with centrally set stakes and prizes, last changed in 2010.

The DCMS however, state there is insufficient data currently to properly assess any proposed change and calls for further information from the Industry.