Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 9

Memorandum submitted by the British Casino Association

1.  CASINOS

  The BCA represents the interests of 115 of the 122 registered casinos in Great Britain.

  Casinos generate employment for about 19,000 people and receive over 11 million visits per annum. They are a major part of the leisure industry.

  Casinos had a gross income in 1999-2000 of £546 million. That is about the same as the whole of the cinema industry.

2.  IMPACT OF NATIONAL LOTTERY ON CASINO INDUSTRY

  The National Lottery is given a clear competitive advantage over all other types of gambling. Particular examples concerning casinos include:

    Advertising—the Lottery has very few limits. Casinos are almost completely prohibited from advertising.

    Outlets—the Lottery has 33,000 retail outlets. Casinos are restricted to 53 "permitted areas".

    Availability—Lottery and scratchcards can be purchased almost anywhere immediately. Casinos are required to make new members wait 24 hours before entry.

    Jackpot—the Lottery has no limits on jackpots. Casinos are restricted to £1,000 prizes on machines.

    Opening Hours—Lottery retailers can sell tickets at all hours. Casinos have restricted opening hours.

    New Games—the Lottery is free to introduce new games. Casinos face major bureaucratic hurdles to their introduction of new games.

  The BCA believes that no Government should have the right to damage an industry by promoting one part whilst restricting other parts of that industry.

3.  THE REVIEW OF GAMBLING LEGISLATION

  In December 1999 the Government announced a wide-ranging review of gambling legislation. To the dismay of the Casino industry, the National Lottery has been excluded from the review.

  The National Lottery has caused a profound change in public attitudes to gambling. Any effective future framework for gambling must take account of this impact particularly since the National Lottery and scratchcards together are three times more popular than any other gambling activity.

4.  KPMG REPORT

  A KPMG report on the Economic Value and Public Perceptions of Gambling in the UK dated May 2000 included a Mori poll which showed that:

    (i)  Casinos are more socially acceptable than scratchcards, and yet casinos are still subject to substantial public restraints.

    (ii)  90 per cent of the population now gamble and gambling is now perceived to be one of a range of leisure activities.

5.  A SINGLE REGULATORY AUTHORITY

  The arguments listed above have led the BCA to conclude that the entire gambling sector, including the National Lottery, should be supervised by one regulatory authority with terms of reference that cover:

    —  Social Protection.

    —  Keeping gambling crime free and honest.

    —  Ensuring that customers are treated fairly and can make an informed judgement about how they wish to spend their leisure time.

    —  Ensuring a level playing field between various gambling activities.

  A single regulatory authority would bring with it benefits of scale. It would enable a risk assessment to be looked at across the whole industry, it would encourage industry wide standards and finally it would recognise that gambling is now an important part of the leisure industry.

  Whilst the casino industry has greatly valued the long and effective working relationship that it has had with the Home Office, it now considers it common sense to place all Government supervision of the gambling industry with the DCMS. It is the DCMS that sponsors the leisure industry and manages a more up-to-date regulatory framework covering the National Lottery.

6.  CONCLUSION

  The BCA feel that the competitive advantage given to the National Lottery over other regulated gambling activities is no longer fair or necessary.

September 2000


 
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