UK government flexible on gaming machine payments

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The UK government has responded to a DCMS committee’s report on gambling regulation by noting that it will not enforce machines to use a certain type of payment.

Which type of payment machines accept is “not set out in the relevant rules,” it said, adding: “This position will not change, regardless of whether direct debit card payments can be made on gaming machines.”

Gaming machines can currently accept cash and other forms of indirect debit card payments, such as through tickets and mobile apps.

The government is “shortly” set to publish its full response to a white paper consultation on land-based gaming including cashless gaming proposals. That response is separate to its published feedback on a Culture, Media and Sport Committee report on gambling regulation published in December.

The government said it will “monitor the impact of the changes to the land-based sector, particularly the increased availability of Category B machines, in a number of ways,” including through Gambling Commission statistics.

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In-depth data has already begun to be collected to help understand how people play on different types of machines, said the government.

“This data has given us a snapshot into the behaviour of players on certain machines in certain venues,” it said. “We plan on asking industry for this data on a regular basis.”

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee said in December last year that it supported cashless payments on gambling machines but feels that players should still be able to use cash if they prefer.

The position of the committee on current regulations noted that the accessibility of online gambling today means that some supply-level restrictions on the land-based sector are less relevant than when the 2005 Gambling Act came into force.

The white paper’s proposed reforms, said the committee in December, are “appropriate.”

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But it emphasised the need to monitor the impact of the changes, particularly with Category B machines in high-street venues.

It welcomes the plan to permit local authorities to use cumulative impact assessments (CIAs) in handling gambling premise licence applications.

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