Responding to the question: “If you were asked for three things the government needs to sort out for you now, what would they be?”, Electrocoin’s John Stergides was not short on answers.
In an interview with Coinslot to mark the new year, Electrocoin’s John Stergides identified five solutions to issues that the DCMS must address if it is to be seen as functional department by the industry. He said bluntly: “They already know the issues which are well overdue and should have taken place five years ago.’’
First on Stergides’ list was a familiar request that the DCMS and Gambling Commission between them have not yet figured out: fairness between different sectors of the industry. In particular, Stergides would like to see a level playing field with online gaming, a sector that has maximum stakes in excess of those found on FOBTs before April 2019. It took a while, but the government addressed the FOBT maximum stake issue, and Stergides believes the same process needs to happen online.
Second on the list is addressing the issue of overdue adjustments to stakes and prizes in the low stake gaming industry. While online gaming began its life unrestrained by stake and prize limits, amusements have been regulated for decades, meaning stake and prize limits that, in some cases, are a decade out of date. Stergides wants them to “reflect the market”, and in the same vein, he argues for “removing machines like cranes, pushers, skill type games from the gambling act” entirely.
“An overly-bureaucratic approach by the DCMS will cost more money, hurting both operators and their players…”
However, third on his list, Stergides wants to add a new machine to the gambling act. This is the B5, listed in Bacta’s request during the last triennial but denied by the DCMS. It would bring AGCs, which are becoming more and more like casinos, up to the same maximum stake level as casinos, while creating a whole new wave of innovation and investment across the industry.
The fourth request on the Stergides list will also help the industry’s economic state, but more importantly it will allow both operators and players to interact like itis 2020, rather than the previous millennium. It’s about the DCMS enabling the industry to “adapt and be part of the cashless society”, the arguments for which have been repeated by the amusements sector again and again, but to no avail.
Last, but not least, on Stergides’ list is a simple request of: “less bureaucracy”. “Amusements is an old industry, with many regulations already in-built – particularly those around social responsibility – before it became fashionable or ‘official’ in the paperwork of regulators. An overly-bureaucratic approach by the DCMS will mean any future changes to the industry will take longer to make, and will cost more money, hurting both operators and their players as the sector falls behind the times when it comes to the important issues of implementing cashless payments and keeping stakes and prizes up to date.”