Tuesday, December 7, 2021


Greg Wood: “We must have the opportunity to try and develop new ideas in the real world”

Greg Wood Bacta convention speech
It was an intelligent and honed speech by the Bacta president Greg Wood at his association’s AGM last week. After clearing the path of some of the debris of disappointments that the industry has experienced over the year, Wood made way for Bacta’s vision on the changes necessary from the Gambling Review to ensure the long term security of the sector.

A breath of fresh air: DCMS confirms masks not required for arcades and FECs

mask rules DCMS confirmation
The industry has received confirmation from DCMS that England’s arcades and FECs are exempt from new government mask rules, but as has become normal practice, there are mixed returns north of the border.

Gambling review due in Spring, but legislation will lag

John Whittingdale legislation Gambling Review
Following former gambling minister John Whittingdale’s speech to Bacta members at last week’s annual general meeting, CEO John White told Coinslot that the upcoming gambling review now seems due for early Spring, but legislation and implementation may stretch into 2023 and beyond.

Gambling GVA still down on 2019 according to DCMS figures

Gambling GVA down
Publication of the latest economic estimates for DCMS sectors has revealed an ongoing decline in monthly GVA across the UK gambling industry over the last three years.

Bacta continues gambling review dialogue with new minister

Chris Philp Gambling Minister
Recently appointed gambling minister Chris Philp is certainly getting to know stakeholders in the industry with the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the DCMS holding his second meeting with Bacta since his appointment two months ago.

White emphasises Bacta’s AGC campaign in call for industry unity

John White Bacta AGM speech
AGCs and FECs cannot only live in perfect harmony, they are inter-linked and dependent on one another, according Bacta CEO John White, who called for industry unity as the association campaigns for fairer regulation in the government’s gambling review.

Rank CEO urges return of “logic” in regulation

Rank John OReilly
Rank Group CEO John O’Reilly has urged legislators to recall the “logic” which prompted the 2005 Gambling Act, warning against the impact of “rabid extremes” in decision making.

Baroness Brady joins Lottery bid

Baroness Brady joins Sisal lottery licence bid
As the battle intensifies to win the bid to run the National Lottery the Italian group Sisal has turned to Conservative Party life-peer Baroness Brady for inspiration.

Bacta extend political engagement hosting Labour MPs on Brighton Palace Pier

Alex Sobell MP Bacta reception
Bacta hosted a reception during the Labour Party Conference on Monday to highlight industry contributions and the need for coastal support and investment.

On notice: Parliamentary group opens inquiry into Gambling Commission’s ‘competence and effectiveness

Scott Benson All Party Betting and Gaming Group
It’s time for the industry to air its views on the Gambling Commission’s regulatory powers and, more importantly, its over-reach of those powers. The All-Party Betting and Gaming Group has taken on board the ‘fears’ of those critical of the Commission and established a safe environment for complaints against the regulator to be lodged. If the numbers are sufficient, the regulator could be in for a rough ride in the gambling review.

Off The Record

Brighton Pier Off The Record Labour Conference John Whittingdale energy crisis
Off The Record laments the loss of John Whittingdale, predicts a bumpy Conference ride for Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and explains why rising energy costs are a body blow to the AGC business.

Comment: Eyes on ICE / Philp makes impact / Speak now

Comment ICE Philp Speak now
What a way to start your new job. There wasn’t even enough time to officially announce Chris Philp’s appointment as gambling minister, he had to line up a response to the independent Football Index inquiry and declare his arrival with a stick to beat the parties involved. Philp has hit the gambling road running.

Chris Philp appointed new gambling minister

Chris Philp appointed Gambling Minister
No sooner had he been given his red box, when Chris Philp opened it and found an inquiry report that hammered the Gambling Commission. His task, should he choose to accept it, was to deliver the critical blow and advise that things will change. What a day to start your new job. And what a year to do so as well; Philp’s primary role above all now is to oversee the gambling review.

DCMS revolving door just keeps on spinning: John Whittingdale goes in cabinet reshuffle

DCMS wall Nadine Dorries appointed culture secretary
When a welcome stability was just beginning to take hold at the DCMS, the gaming and gambling sector will now have another new minister at its helm. Out goes John Whittingdale after only six and a half months in the office.

Is cash a king in abdication or will the seaside sector remain a loyal territory?

Cash Seaside sector gambling 2p Pusher
Poppleston Allen solicitor and gambling industry expert Imogen Moss tackles the big debate on cash in the modern society. Whilst coins and notes are fighting to retain their place on the currency ladder, she suggests the future for arcades is brighter than many may think.

Marcus Boyle officially appointed as Gambling Commission Chair

Marcus Boyle appointed Gambling Commission Chair
After a rocky few years for the Gambling Commission and its leadership, Marcus Boyle has been appointed as the regulator’s new Chair with a to-do list that includes; appointing a permanent CEO, restoring the regulator’s reputation, and getting recommendations for the upcoming gambling review right. That is, of course, if the regulator manages to stay the course past the government’s gambling review.

Off The Record: Spotless Machines / Bank Holidays / Raab / Don’t Cross Carrie / Benefits

Boris Johnson Carrie off the record spotless machines TUC bank holidays
Why it pays to keep gaming machines spotless, the power of Carrie and why the industry should join forces with the TUC - hot topics covered by Coinslot’s mystery Arcadian in this week’s edition of Off The Record.

Marcus Boyle in line to chair Gambling Commission

Marcus Boyle in line to chair Gambling Commission
Marcus Boyle is reportedly in line to be named the new chair of the Gambling Commission, as DCMS looks to install a “neutral” figure at the head of the regulator during the overhaul of the 2005 Gambling Act.

DCMS Committee slams “unprecedented” interference by Gambling Commission over inquiry

Andrew Rhodes interim CEO Gambling Commission
The Gambling Commission has been accused of being potentially in “contempt of parliament” by DCMS committee chair Julian Knight, after interim CEO Andrew Rhodes resisted calls for a governmental inquiry. It’s an “unelected quango”, Knight says; it’s an uncomfortably rocky road for newly appointed GC chief.

Vaccine passports remain a concern for fairs and showmen

Fairgrounds showmen vaccine passports concern
The Showmen’s Guild, together with colleagues in the fairground and show industries, has highlighted ongoing concerns surrounding the introduction of a COVID-passport, together with hesitancy by local governments around the UK to allow events to resume.

Off The Record: “Professor Doom and Gloom strikes again!”

Off the record gambling campaigners
OTR argues why now’s the time to ditch Professor Gloom, identifies the family links that are making some gambling campaigners hypertensive and why 2m is now a rule too far.

DCMS confirms gambling review will “harmonise” with affordability check proposals

Affordability Checks DCMS Gambling Review
The Gambling Commission’s controversial proposals for affordability checks will be addressed in harmony with other issues in the upcoming gambling review, the government minister for gambling and lotteries has confirmed - but has the regulator lost some influence in Westminster?

Commission faces inquiry into handling of National Lottery tender

National Lottery tender
The Gambling Commission is fast becoming the ‘billy no-mates’ of regulation with DCMS this week launching an inquiry to evaluate and examine the handling of the ‘competition process’ of the National Lottery’s operating tender.

Skegness Pier unveils quarter of a mile extension plan

Skegness Pier extension plans
Mellors Group has announced ambitious plans to extend Skegness Pier by five times its current length, with public consultation open on what attractions could fill the extra 464m.

Commission facing criticism over tarry on Bounce Back loan policy

gambling Commission Bounce Back Loans delay
It is still uncertain whether the Gambling Commission has finally navigated its way towards a policy on Bounce Back loans for arcadians seeking an operating licence. Launched by the government in May 2020, and actually withdrawn from the market in April of this year, BBLs have confounded the regulator during its assessment of licence applications. And so, in many cases, it has reverted to its default position: don’t allow anything. This has left many operators in limbo.

Showmen’s Guild assesses “positive” ERP report but “we have customers; we just need clarity, council confidence and more staff”

Showmens Guild assess Event Research Programme Report
Following the release of the initial Event Research Programme report, the Showmen’s Guild has assessed the findings of Phase One as “positive, but fairly inconclusive.”

‘Save it for the bingo’: But how much bingo will be left to save it for?

Andrew Reilly Hollywood Clubs Save it for the bingo
In Jon and Lucy Richardson’s brilliant TV comedy, the central catchphrase of ‘Save it for the bingo’ raises a laugh every time the dour comedian says it. But in the real world of bingo clubs, life’s not so funny: the lack of direct and targeted government support is putting the popular sector in jeopardy. Coinslot talks to Hollywood Clubs’ Andrew Reilly about his latest effort to get the sector some support.

Licence fees to increase by 15 percent for land-based operators in 2022

Gambling Commission licence fees DCMS
All of the Gambling Commission’s proposals for changes to licensing fees will be implemented by the government, resulting in a staggering 55 percent increase for online operators and an unfathomable 15 percent increase for land-based operators, a rise industry trade association Bacta believes is “too much and too premature”.

Fairs are back on the government roadmap, but some roads continue to be closed by local councils

Beaconsfield Charter Fair traveling fairs
The roll-out of the government’s roadmap to recovery has come under some attack this past week, with confusion over travelling rules both internationally and closer to home in Bolton. Whether it’s confusion, or as some have suggested bigotry, there are local councils which continue to block the return of travelling fairs. On paper that’s changed; in practice, there’s still some work to be done.

Harris and Foster push for “illiberal” checks and caps

Carolyn Harris affordability checks
The parliamentary campaign against gambling kicked of again last week as the leaders of the Gambling-related Harm All Party Parliamentary Group and the Peers for Gambling Reform quizzed the DCMS on state-imposed spending caps.