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Leading UK Casino Operators Want Changes to the Gambling Act
- May 25, 2016 By Oliver Young -
Well known UK based casino operators seemed to be unified at the Future of Casinos conference in Westminster and called for amendments to the Gambling Act in the state on gaming machines.
It was the third seminar in the series hosted by the Parliamentary All Party Betting & Gaming Group. The event saw four big names in the UK casino industry giving speeches followed by sessions of questions and answers. At the end of the day, attendants had a better view of the perceptions related to regulations on gaming machines.
European Casinos Earn More from Slots than UK Casinos
The first speaker was the managing director at Grosvenor Casinos Mark Jones. He pointed out that the number of visitors at UK land based casinos increased by 3.6 million since 2010 but over ¾ of this figure came from London and 80 percent of it came from two casinos, namely the Hippodrome and Aspers.
He also expressed his unhappiness about the three tier structure related to gaming machines in casinos which resulted by the 2005 Gambling Act. Casino establishments under the Act of 1968 could only offer up to 20 gaming machines and Jones said that visitors cannot believe that there is a three tier system and don’t know what to expect when they come. “The number of machines is significantly less than what they are expecting to see,” he said.
According to the Gambling Act small casinos can offer up to 80 games while large casinos up to 150. Simon Thomas, the CEO at Hippodrome Casino, also talked about the gaming machine regulation. He said that casinos in Europe earn a lot more from slot machines compared to the UK casinos. For example, in France slot machine revenue makes up 80 percent; in Spain it is 40 percent, in Germany 70 percent, in the Netherlands it is 55 percent while in the UK it makes up only 15 percent. Thomas also said that the UK Gambling Commission has no problems with raising the number of slots from 10 to 20 nor anybody was against it.
The Gambling Act is a Marketing Failure
Furthermore, according to the third speaker, the COO of the Aspers Group, Richard Nobile, the Gambling Act is a failure marketing wise because only 4 of the 16 casinos that got new licenses implemented the changes from the Act and are still operating. He also pointed out that more slot machines need to be introduced in casinos nothing that this would bring more tax revenue to the Treasury.
Lastly, the CEO at the Ritz Club, Roger Marris, spoke about the idea to change the tax regime and bring it in line with that of the other gambling jurisdictions. He took Barcelona as an example. They have a low duty rate for players from all over the world and high duty rate for natives. “At the end this caters to the global audience and we want to expand the international player base we want to reach,” he added.