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Bacta Convention welcomes ‘brighter future’ speech from UK Gambling Minister

The UK’s Gambling Minister, the Rt Hon Stuart Andrew MP, set out his plans for a modernisation of the low stake land-based gambling sector in his speech to the 2023 Convention organised by UK trade association bacta.

Addressing a record attendance of bacta members, the Minister said that the UK government recognised the significant economic contributions made by the low stake gaming sector to the national economy, and local communities, both inland and at the coast.

Confirming the Government’s appreciation of the issues facing the sector he told attendees: “I recognise the commercial challenges you are facing, and I believe that the modernising measures we are taking will help to support the move towards a brighter future. Many of you here today will be keen to understand the progress we have made on the land-based gambling proposals set out in the White Paper.”

Answering a question concerning the Government’s failure to include Loot Boxes in the White Paper the Minister said the Government has been talking with the home-based video gaming industry and has given the sector 12-months to propose a route forward and would be considering all options.

Image: The Rt Hon Stuart Andrew MP 

In his keynote presentation bacta Chief Executive John White paid tribute to the bacta team for their work delivering the Convention and their dedication supporting the industry throughout the year. Reflecting on the last 12-months he said: “What a year we’ve had and what a year we have to come!”

On the topic of machine ratios and the proposal to move from the current 80/20 rule to 50/50 in relation to the proportion of Category B3 machines to Category C he implored the Government to keep the proposition simple, stating that the 50/50 ratio is both “positive and uncontentious.”

Referencing the importance of contactless payments, he argued that it was “inconceivable” that the British public is prevented from playing gambling machines using any means other than cash and questioned “how can a gaming machine be the only piece of equipment in a premises where consumers cannot use debit cards?”

John Bollom, bacta’s National President said that he was delighted with the Convention which attracted the largest ever attendance. He stated: “Whilst there’s still much work to do, I believe that bacta’s reputation as a trusted resource for both regulator and legislator is becoming well-established, and is something that I will look to build upon during my Presidency.”

In addition to the Minister the 2023 bacta Annual Convention also featured Phillip Davies MP, Andrew Rhodes, Chief Executive of the Gambling Commission, Kate Nicholls OBE, Chief Executive UKHospitality, Miles Barron, CEO of the Bingo Association and Michael Dugher, Chief Executive of the Betting and Gaming Council