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Gambling: Consultation Paper

Volume 569: debated on Tuesday 27 February 1996

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asked Her Majesty's Government:When they will he issuing the consultation paper on relaxation of the restrictions on casinos, bingo clubs and advertising of commercial gambling.

My right honourable friend the Home Secretary has published today a consultation paper which constitutes a comprehensive review of the law on casinos, licensed bingo clubs and the advertising of commercial gambling, and which restates principles for the regulation of gambling. It proposes a number of relaxations in the law.Subject to this consultation, my right honourable friend proposes to bring forward orders under Section 1 of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 to implement the changes. The paper constitutes formal consultation on some of the proposals for the purpose of Section 3(1) of the 1994 Act. Other proposals will need to he the subject of further detailed consultation before implementation. Comments on the proposals are requested by the end of May 1996.The main proposals on casinos are as follows:Secondary legislation to allow casinos in 13 new locations. The additional areas proposed are:

  • Croydon
  • Folkestone
  • Morecambe
  • Redbridge
  • Weymouth
  • Dartford
  • Hastings
  • Oxford
  • Slough
  • Gloucester
  • Ipswich
  • Peterborough
  • Swindon

A reduction in the 48-hour waiting time for membership of a casino to 24-hours, together with provision for postal applications and group membership.

A new regime for gaming machines, with increased numbers and higher stakes and payouts.

An extension to liquor licensing hours.

Advertising of the location of casinos in directories and guides.

Payment by debit card.

The proposals on bingo are:

An end to the requirement that bingo establishments operate as members' clubs with a 24-hour waiting period for membership.

Abolition of the demand criterion for the granting of licenses.

Removal of restrictions on added prize money and on frequency and prizes in multiple bingo (the National Game).

Payment by debit card.

Extension of bingo licences from one year to three years.

Removal of the remaining restrictions on print advertising.

The Government are minded to allow broadcast advertising of bingo subject to the response to the consultation document.

The document also proposes the removal of the ban on the on-site print advertising of gaming machines and the print advertising (but not broadcast advertising) of betting offices.

These measures represent a balanced package of reform which aims to provide new opportunities for the industry and the consumer while maintaining the effective regulation of gaming.

The timetable for the implementation of changes arising from this document will depend on a number of factors, including the response to the consultation and the availability of additional resources for the Gaming Board of Great Britain and the courts.