UK to liberalise rules for gambling venues in light of online growth

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain plans to introduce a range of liberalising measures for venues like casinos, bingo halls and arcades as part of a plan to boost land-based gambling as it seeks to keep pace with the fast-growing online betting and gaming sector.

The move was aimed at modernising “the outdated and overly restrictive regulations” that apply to land-based gambling, minister Stuart Andrew said in a written statement to lawmakers on Thursday.

The government will remove the ban on direct debit card payments on gaming machines as the use of non-cash payments has increased significantly, and introduce appropriate player protections, the statement said.

It also said some casinos would be allowed to offer more machines, while some arcades and bingo halls will be permitted to have a higher number of bigger stake gaming machines.

The changes introduced will also increase the maximum cap on fees authorities can charge for gambling premises licences by 15%, an update to a fee set up that hasn’t been changed since 2007.

“Together we believe these measures will support the land-based gambling sector and modernise the current outdated restrictions, as well as helping to protect young people and supporting licensing authorities,” the government statement said.

The proposed changes come a year after the government set out reforms to online gambling, such as new online stake limits and increased affordability checks, to tackle problem gambling.

(Reporting by Muvija M; editing by William James and Sarah Young)

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