The Culture, Media and Sport Committee, under the chairmanship of Mr John Whittingdale MP, has published its report into the UK gambling industry and the 2005 Gambling Act (The Gambling Act 2005: A bet worth taking?).
GBGC highlights some of the recommendations and comments made in the report here:
• Gambling is now widely accepted in the UK as a legitimate entertainment activity.
• The rather reluctantly permissive tone of gambling legislation over the last 50 years is now an anomaly
• [We] recommend that local authorities be given the power to allow betting shops to have more than the current limit of four B2 machines per premises if they believe that it will help to deal with the issue of clustering. The limit of four B2 machines under current legislation should be maintained as a minimum limit to create certainty for operators.
• [We] recommend that Adult Gaming Centres are permitted B2 machines on the same basis as betting shops.
• In principle we believe that bingo should be taxed in line with other forms of gambling at 15%. Moreover, we recommend that the Treasury make an assessment, within the next financial year, of the likelihood that a reduction in bingo duty, to 15%, would result in increased investment in the bingo sector and a rise in net tax take.
• The Treasury still needs to work with industry stakeholders to establish the correct level for online gambling taxation, taking into account the need to encourage companies to accept UK regulation and taxation and to discourage the formation of a grey market.
• We conclude … that the opportunity to establish one or more Regional Casinos in the UK has passed and, without a change in the political and economic climate, is unlikely to reoccur.
• We recommend that the Gambling Commission provide the gambling industry with a clear and easily accessible summary of where the fees it charges are spent as a part of its Annual Report.
• The Gambling Commission remains an overly expensive, bureaucratic regulator. We consider that the Commission has not gone far enough, in particular, in its efforts to reduce its operating costs. We recommend that an independent review of Gambling Commission expenditure be carried out as soon as possible after a new system for remote licensing is in place.
Read GBGC Chief Executive Warwick Bartlett’s comments on the committee’s report here.
Mr Bartlett gave evidence to the Committee as part of its research into the UK gambling industry