It’s the time of the season when a number of local councils will be courting public opinion on their statement of principles on gambling policy.
Not normally a hot-bed of controversy, not yet at least, the statement tends to steer a line where holier than thou ideals meets adherance to the law. However, this year, Bacta has urged members to take advantage of the opportunity to lobby the council to support the removal of some of the more costly and unnecessary bureaucratic requirements which the industry has been pressing the government to incorporate into its ongoing gambling review.
The key area highlighted by the trade body concerns machine licensing in pubs. “The bureaucracy and cost of local councils being notified of an automatic entitlement to gambling machines that arises from liquor or club licenses should be removed,” Bacta has argued in its presentations to government. “It seems nonsensical to go through the notification process when there is nothing the local council can do other than note that the pub or club has installed the machines it is legally entitled to.”
The red-tape procedure costs every operator £50 each time they want to increase, reduce or reshuffle their gaming offering, adding an estimated 5-10 days to the licensing process – all for a paper exercise that literally has no raison d’etre in the licence application.
“It might be worth members responding to council invitations on their gambling principles by requesting support for our proposals in the gambling review particularly in this area,” noted Bacta CEO John White. “I would like members to highlight the unnecessary and expensive bureaucracy for both the council and suppliers of gaming machines that arises from the current requirements of the Gambling Act 2005.”