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Volume 630: debated on Tuesday 31 October 2017

I wish to inform the House that on 31 October 2017, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport published a consultation on proposals for changes to gaming machines and social responsibility requirements across the gambling industry.

The Government announced a review of gaming machines and social responsibility measures in October 2016. The objective of the review was to ensure we have the right balance between a sector that can grow and contribute to the economy, and one that is socially responsible and doing all it should to protect consumers and communities. The responses to the call for evidence have also been published alongside this consultation so that respondents can see the evidence that we have drawn on in developing these proposals.

We believe that the current regulation of B2 gaming machines is inappropriate to achieve our stated objective of protecting consumers and wider communities. We are therefore consulting on regulatory changes to the maximum stake, looking at options between £50 and £2, in order to reduce the potential for large session losses and therefore to the potentially harmful impact on the player and their wider communities.

While the industry proposes increases to the remaining stakes and prizes, and permitted numbers and allocations across other categories of machine (B1, B3, B3A, B4, C and D gaming machines), we believe retention of the current regulatory environment will better protect players from potential harm than industry’s proposed increases.

We are aware that the factors which influence the extent of harm to the player are wider than one product, or a limited set of parameters such as stakes and prizes, and include factors around the player, the environment and the product. We are therefore also consulting on corresponding social responsibility measures across gaming machines that enable high rates of loss, on player protections in the online sector, on a package of measures on gambling advertising and on current arrangements for the delivery of research, education and treatment (RET). Within this package, we want to see industry, regulator and charities continue to drive the social responsibility agenda, to ensure all is being done to protect players without the need for further Government intervention, and that those in trouble can access the treatment and support they need.

The consultation will close on 23 January 2018, following which Government will consider its final proposals.

The consultation is available at:

A copy will be deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.