Since 1 September the Department has received more than 140 letters from hon. Members, writing on behalf of constituents, concerning gaming machine stakes and prizes and gaming machine numbers.
I am arranging for a copy of an anonymised example of a typical constituent's letter, and the Department's reply, to be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.
There are no immediate plans to review the size or focus of the Gambling Commission. The Gambling Commission is the new regulator for the gambling industry and became fully operational from 1 September 2007. The Commission is still in its first operational cycle and has developed strategic objectives for the first three years to deliver its statutory objectives as set out in the Gambling Act 2005. The Commission's initial Corporate Plan will be reviewed after 18 months in light of its first year's experience as the regulator. In particular the review will consider the developing methods for assessing the level of risk within the gambling industry and the resource effectiveness of the Gambling Commission's approach (including an annual review of licence fees).
The implementation of the Gambling Act 2005 which came into force on 1 September 2007 has been the subject of extensive consultation with key stakeholders from industry and those with an interest in problem gambling.
Ministers and officials also continue to hold meetings with stakeholders including those listed in the question and which have included representations on a range of issues, including problem gambling.
The Gambling Commission has also recently launched a first consultation paper on the Review of Research, Education and Treatment for problem gambling and has invited views from a broad range of stakeholders.
My Department is engaging in active and constructive dialogue with the British Amusement Catering Trade Association, the main trade body which represents the gaming machines and seaside arcades sector, and other trade bodies with an interest in the sector, such as the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions, to gain a full understanding of the current trading conditions in the gaming machine and seaside arcades sector.
I have made it clear to these organisations that I will be happy to consider any evidence they can provide in relation to the difficult trading conditions that some arcade operators say they are currently experiencing, and any proposals for remedial action.
However, the Government's principal priority remains to protect the public. We will need to be satisfied that any proposals put forward for remedial action by the industry do not have an adverse impact in terms of the licensing objectives of the Gambling Act 2005.
The average premises licences fees for (a) family entertainment centres and (b) adult gaming centres by local authorities are set out in the table. These data is calculated from fee data returns collected by my Department from 95 per cent. of licensing authorities. Full details of all premises licence fees are available on the DCMS website
Premises type Fast track application fee (for existing premises) Average new application fee Average annual fee Family entertainment centres 242 790 564 Adult gaming centres 243 796 717
Fast track application fee (for existing premises)
Average new application fee
Average annual fee
Family entertainment centres
Adult gaming centres