Following the publication of the Gambling White Paper earlier today, Miles Baron CEO of The Bingo Association commented:
“We welcome the publication of the White Paper and recognise the Government’s desire to support bingo clubs and achieve a fairer balance of regulation between land-based and online sectors. To this end, changes to the outdated rule which has limited B3 gaming machines to only 20% of available machines is good news for bingo customers who enjoy playing games on these machines.
“Whilst the amendment will also allow bingo clubs to remove outdated legacy gaming machines, allowing clubs to reduce their energy costs, The Bingo Association is disappointed that the government did not take the opportunity to remove the restriction entirely.
“A statutory Levy, particularly one set at a higher rate than the present 0.1% of GGY which bingo operators pay, will add a significant cost the industry can ill afford. Our clubs are low-risk, low staking community assets and these changes come at a critical time for bingo clubs which have, for too long, been constrained by outdated regulation and which have been additionally battling through a post-pandemic recovery along with the current cost of living crisis. The has led to the closure of 68 bingo clubs across the UK in the past 18 months. We welcome acknowledgement in the White Paper of the fact that this will be administered in a ‘fair and proportionate’ manner to land operators.
“It is now critical that changes which help to modernise the customer experience in bingo clubs, in particular the change to limits on B3 gaming machines, are delivered as swiftly as possible. In the meantime, we will continue to work with government and the Gambling Commission to pursue opportunities outlined in the White Paper which we believe are in the customer interest, most notably the ability for land-based bingo operators to introduce additional opportunities for customers to win on the main stage bingo game and options for the introduction of cashless payments. This is essential as we seek to broaden the appeal of our clubs to a wider customer base as well as remaining relevant to our existing, loyal customers.
“These changes, in the interests of customers and underscored by safer gambling protections, cannot come a moment too soon.”
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