Rank called for a “much-needed modernisation” of land-based casino regulations to create a level playing field with online gaming.
UK.- Rank Group Plc, the owner of the Grosvenor Casino and Mecca Bingo chains, has called on the British government to radically overhaul legislation for land-based gambling venues as part of its review of the gambling legislation.
While the government’s review of the 2005 Gambling Act is expected to largely concentrate on rules for online gaming, Rank called for an equal balance between the land-based and digital sectors to create a level playing field and safeguard UK consumers.
In its response to the review, Rank has urged the government to implement a “programme of modernisation” through secondary legislation. It said the existing rules for land-based gaming were fragmented because venues covered by the 1968 Gaming Act have different rules compared to casinos licensed under the more liberal 2005 Gambling Act.
Rank suggested the creation of a “new baseline of gambling regulations” combining elements of the 2005 Act with the addition of new safeguards for consumers.
Rank said it was directly impacted by the inconsistency because 51 of its 52 Grosvenor Casino properties were licensed under the 1968 Act. As a result, its casinos are restricted to 20 machines, while casinos licensed under the 2005 Gambling Act can operate up to 80 machines depending on space.
Rank also urged the government to relax rules on table games operated through random number generation in order to let customers individually set their lower stake.
It also suggested that legislation should recognise changing customer habits to push land-based casino and bingo towards cashless gaming.
Rank CEO John O’Reilly said: “Our long-standing promise to excite and to entertain our customers and to do so safely remains our core purpose.
“The government’s current review of gambling legislation provides a once in a generation opportunity to deliver the much-needed modernisation of existing land-based gambling regulations which date back over fifty years and impose unnecessary restrictions on our ability to meet the needs of today’s consumers.”
Rank Group has reported statutory losses of £93m after underlying net gaming revenue fell 50 per cent to £288m for the 12 months to June 30.