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Amusement Arcades

Volume 281: debated on Tuesday 16 July 1996

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what percentage of British amusement arcade operators are not members of the British Amusement Catering Trades Association; and what restrictions he proposes to apply to access in these venues. [37065]

The British Amusements Catering Trades Association estimates that 20 per cent. of British amusement arcade operators are not members of the association.The same legal restrictions apply to all amusement arcades irrespective of BACTA membership. The Deregulation (Gaming Machines and Betting Office Facilities) Order 1996, which came into force on 20 June, imposed an age limit of 18 on access to arcades or designated areas within them which have all-cash amusement-with-prizes machines paying up to £10.We have no plans to restrict access to arcades which have no all-cash machines.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what plans his Department has to introduce a statutory age restriction with regard to the playing of amusement—with—prizes machines; and how this will be enforced; [37063](2) what plans he has in respect of persons of any age having unlimited access to machines with cash prizes of less than £10. [37064]

The Deregulation (Gaming Machines and Betting Office Facilities) Order 1996 came into force on 20 June. Under this, local authorities can permit amusement-with-prizes machines making all-cash payments up to £10 in arcades or designated parts of arcades which exclude people under age 18. Local authorities also enforce the provisions.Otherwise, these machines are allowed only in licensed betting offices and casinos, which have a statutory prohibition on access by people under 18, and in licensed bingo clubs and liquor licensed premises which are essentially adult environments. The police enforce the relevant age restrictions.We have no plans for a statutory age limit for premises with traditional AWP machines paying up to £4 in cash and £8 in tokens, but local authorities can ban AWP machines from premises such as cafes and leisure centres.