Land-based casino operators in the UK had good reason to be optimistic about today’s government white paper on gambling.
The review contained some favourable recommendations for casinos, although the online sector did not come out of it so well. For a start, it proposed that casinos of all sizes be allowed to offer sports betting.
Casinos would also be allowed to offer credit to international visitors who undergo stringent checks in order to help the high-end casino sector remain internationally competitive. There will also be a consultation to develop options for cashless payments.
There was also a move to allow casinos to house more slot machines. The white paper says: “We propose to consult on introducing a common machine to table ratio of five to one across the casino estate, increased from two to one for small casinos.
“Where 1968 Act casinos meet the minimum requirements for overall gambling space (500sq.m) and non-gambling space (250sq.m) of a small 2005 Act casino, they would be eligible to be subject to the same cap of 80 machines and a machine to table ratio of five to one. 1968 Act casinos which do not meet these size requirements will also be able to benefit from extra machines on a pro rata basis commensurate with their size.
“This sliding scale would still maintain a requirement for a balance between non-gambling space and overall size but would allow a proportionate increase. For example, this could mean that a casino with 140sq.m of non-gaming space and 280sq.m of overall space, could be allowed a maximum of 25 machines subject to a five to one ratio of machines to tables.”