SBC News BGC and Rank welcome DCMS' positive response to modernise UK casinos

BGC and Rank welcome DCMS’ positive response to modernise UK casinos

Voices from the industry continue to pour down in support of yesterday’s DCMS response to the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) consultation on modernising land-based venues. 

Part of the Gambling Review White Paper, the consultation seeks to clear up the fog around licenced businesses operating physical casinos in the UK caused by the mandatory compliance with two separate legislations – the Gaming Act 1968 and the Gambling Act 2005.

Some of the changes include increased allowance of category-B gambling machines in ‘small venues’ as described in the Act 1968 – from 20 to 80 machines per licence in order to bring the Act up to standard with the newer framework. 

Transactions are also on the overhaul agenda, with a limit of £100 set to be imposed for cashless payments on gaming machines. A full breakdown on proposed changes have been detailed in this article by SBC. 

After Bacta’s John Bollom described the DCMS update as a “good day” for the industry, two more high-profile statements also welcomed the developments – those of the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) and Rank Group Plc, owner of the Grosvenor Casino franchise.  

BGC calls for swift adoption 

With the publication of the White Paper consultation response, BGC urged ministers to move swiftly with the plans’ implementation so that businesses can provide a better customer experience as soon as possible.

However, the industry standards body also noted that additional time is needed to reflect on the full impact of the proposals. 

Michael Dugher, BGC
Michael Dugher

Michael Dugher, Acting Chair and CEO of BGC, commented: “Casinos are a vital pillar of the UK’s leisure, hospitality and tourism sector and we welcome the Government’s consultation response which is positive progress on the modest, long-overdue but mission critical modernisation reforms needed for the land-based casino sector to compete and thrive.

“Casinos currently employ more than 10,000 people, contribute £300m annually in tax and generate an estimated £800m a year to the UK economy.

“Much needed reforms on cashless payments, gaming machine allocations and allowing all casinos to offer sports betting will strengthen the sector to better meet the needs and expectations of their customers.

“While we welcome these proposals, attention must now shift to the timeline for implementing policy changes and we urge the Government to urgently set out a clear timeline for progressing the relevant legislation to make them reality for our members.

“Too many casinos have sadly closed in recent years as successive administrations failed to deliver the changes we needed to protect jobs and growth. The BGC and our fantastic casino members have campaigned for these new measures for years to allow businesses to modernise, innovate and grow, and we strongly welcome the Government’s approach to ensure casinos are better placed to make that happen.”

BGC also reminded that its regulated betting and gaming industry members, including those with land-based venues, currently support 110,000 jobs throughout the UK and contribute £7.1bn to the economy, making the changes key to the sector’s sustainability. 

Rank rolls out changes in 2025

Grosvenor Casinos and Mecca Bingo operator Rank Group also saw the latest stage of the modernisation plans as an opportunity to “better meet the needs of [our] customers”. 

As it is, Grosvenor venues will be able to double the 1,361 B1 gaming machines currently in use at the brick-and-mortar casinos, with Rank Group already planning to add the first 700 new machines in FY25. 

The company is also looking to upgrade its physical venues for the addition of “various sports betting concepts” that will be permitted in all casinos under the new framework.

John O’Reilly, CEO of Rank, commented: “Today’s Government response to the land-based consultation is good news for Rank.

SBC News BGC and Rank welcome DCMS' positive response to modernise UK casinos
John O’Reilly

“Providing the legislation is on the statute books by recess in late July, we are looking forward to improving the customer proposition in our venues with a roadmap of investments and improvements in the months and years that follow.

“The legislative modernisations cannot come a moment too soon, so we are pleased with the progress contained in today’s announcement.”

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