British associations publish safer design code for gaming machines

The initiative stemmed from a Gambling Commission working group.
The initiative stemmed from a Gambling Commission working group.

The code agreed on by Bacta, the Bingo Association and the Betting and Gaming Council, includes a ban on losses disguised as wins on land-based gaming machines.

UK.- The three major British gaming operator associations, Bacta, the Bingo Association and the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), have finalised a joint safer design code for land-based gaming machines. Work on the code began over two years ago in a Gambling Commission industry working group.

The new land-based gaming machine design code includes a ban against gaming machines showing “losses disguised as wins” in which machines use visuals or music to celebrate a player win despite the win being less than the original stake.

The code for land-based games follows new rules introduced for online game design last year, which banned the use of autoplay and imposed a 2.5-second minimum speed for slot spins.

Bacta chief executive John White said: “It is significant achievement for the whole industry to reach agreement on such a broad topic. Nevertheless, the challenge was one that had to be met and we now have a code which again demonstrates industry’s commitment to socially responsible recreational gaming. 

“It adds to a long list of industry initiatives that have played their part in reducing problem gambling rates to the historically low level of 0.2 per cent of the population.”

BGC executive director Wes Himes said: “We welcome this code as another example of industry driving higher standards to address the issues of risk and we will continue to introduce further measures based on evidence in our fight to prevent harm.”

Bingo Association CEO Miles Baron praised the three associations for working together. He said: “The Bingo Association is pleased to support this code in partnership with Bacta and the BGC demonstrating the ability of the land-based sector to come together when required to strengthen safer gambling protocols.”

BGC: Dugher warns draconian gambling laws will push UK players to the black market

With the UK government’s delayed gambling white paper presumably imminent, Michael Dugher, CEO of the industry lobby group the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC), wrote an op-ed piece in the Daily Telegraph with another warning on the dangers of tightening regulations on the licensed gaming market. He began by attacking the anti-gambling “prohibitionists”.

He warned that it’s not only gambling company execs who will suffer if the government gets it wrong.

“There’s much at stake for the country too,” he wrote. “The regulated betting industry supports 119,000 UK jobs, generates £4.5bn in tax and contributes £7.7bn to the economy. It provides a lifeline to many of the nation’s favourite sports, many of which were hard hit by the pandemic. Betting puts £350m into horse racing, £40m into the English Football League and £12.5m into snooker, darts and rugby league.

“But there’s an even bigger risk if ministers mess up changes to betting. Gambling on global black market websites operating in the UK is now in the billions of pounds. The number of punters who’ve already been driven to the unsafe, unregulated black market online has doubled in recent years.”

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