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NEW GAMING MACHINE CODES OF CONDUCT

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New codes of conduct designed to tighten the social use of gaming machines in pubs, clubs and arcades have been ann...
New codes of conduct designed to tighten the social use of gaming machines in pubs, clubs and arcades have been announced today.

The new rules will require operators providing gaming machines, such as pub fruit machines, to protect the interests of children and vulnerable people.

The codes will be introduced alongside an increase in game machines'

stakes and prizes, following an agreement by the Department for Culture Media and Sport and industry trade bodies.

The codes have been backed by the Gambling Commission and GamCare, and will ensure that:

* all gaming machines display the GamCare helpline number

* all machines have clear signage forbidding play by under 18s

* all machines are supervised to ensure that there's no underage play

Industry associations will monitor compliance and take action against any members not implementing the codes. Adherence to the codes will be a condition of membership for most industry associations. In addition the industry is developing an occupational standard to underpin staff training in social responsibility.

The early introduction of these enhanced social responsibility requirements, nearly a year before the implementation of the Gambling Act in September 2007, has paved the way for the government to bring forward an order to change the maximum stakes and prizes for some gaming machines from 1 September 2007.

The order will increase the maximum stake for low stake and prize gaming machines available in betting shops, bingo halls, Adult Gaming Centres, clubs and miners' institutes, from 50p to£1. Machines available in pubs and clubs will see the maximum stake rise from 30p to 50p and the maximum prize available will increase from£25 to£35.

These changes will only apply to machines which currently offer a maximum jackpot of£25.

If the industry fails to abide by the code the government will withdraw the order.

Richard Caborn, minister for sport, said:

'I welcome the steps that the industry has taken to develop these codes of conduct and secure the commitment of their members. This will ensure greater protections for those using gaming machines including proper supervision of machines to ensure that they are not used by under 18s.

'We made it clear through the passage of the Gambling Bill that any changes to stakes and prizes needed to be connected with improved social responsibility and the introduction of tough new measures which support the principles of the Gambling Act to help keep gambling fair, crime free, and protect children and vulnerable people. The early introduction of these measures a year before Act is implemented demonstrates the industry's real commitment to the social responsibility agenda.'

Notes

1. Trade associations who have signed up to the code are: Business in Sport and Leisure; British Amusement Catering Trade Association; British Beer and Pub Association; British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions; Bingo Association; and British Holiday and Home Parks Association.

2. The code of conduct and the Order under the 1968 Act, implementing changes to the stakes and prize will come into effect on 27 October.

The stake and prize limits will be reviewed again two years after the implementation of the 2005 Act.

3. The rise to stakes and prizes apply to Category B3 machines commonly found in betting shops, bingo halls and Adult Gaming Centres; Category B4 machines additionally available in clubs and miners institutes and Category C machines available in pubs and clubs.

4. Under the 1968 Act an increase in the stake maximum for Category C machines cannot occur without at the same time increasing the maximum stake for Category D machines. The Government policy and intentions for Category D machines remains clear and unchanged - the stake and prize maxima for cash prize machines should be 10p/£5, and for non cash machines, 30p/£8. These limits will be introduced when the Gambling Act 2005 is fully implemented in September 2007. The Order under the 1968 Act has been introduced following firm guarantees from the industry associations that no Category D machines with stakes exceeding 30p (the current maximum) will be introduced in the UK between now and the implementation of the 2005 Act. If there is any evidence that this guarantee has not been delivered a further Order will be made changing the stakes and prizes back to their current levels.

5. The definition of a category C machine contained in the Finance Act, and which determines the level of Amusement Machine Licence Duty payable, limits the prize to£25. The definitions of gaming machines in excise law have traditionally followed those in social law. However, it is not possible to change this definition to bring it in line with the Order under the 1968 Act until Budget, legislating in Finance Bill 2007. We will do so then, which means that any machine which offers a prize in excess of£25 before Budget Day will be subject to a higher level of duty. It is, of course, a commercial decision when operators wish to take advantage of the new maximum set by social law.

6. The Order will introduce the following increases:

Category of machine Current From 27

Stakes and October

Prizes

Stake Prize Stake Prize

B3 (Jackpot machines in bingo 50p £500 £1 £500

halls)

B4 (Jackpot machines in 50p £250 £1 £250

registered clubs)

C (Amusement with prizes 30p £25 50p £35

machines in alcohol licences

premises and arcades)

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