Select Committee on Regulatory Reform Thirteenth Report

Appendix D

Letter to the Clerk of the Committee from the Chief Executive, GamCare

Thank you for your letter and enclosures of 3 April and we are pleased to respond to your request.

Our reference to 'partially effective enforcement powers' in paragraph 60 of our consultation response relates to the situation regarding illegally sited all cash and jackpot machines.

BACTA, the Gaming Board and GamCare (through anecdotal evidence from helpline and counselling clients) receive, from time to time, information that some cafes, taxi offices, snooker clubs and other venues install 'all-cash' and/or jackpot machines.

Under current law the Gaming Board do not themselves have the power to enforce and are reliant on the police force to have illegally sited machines removed. The police, perhaps understandably, do not see this as a priority area and, we understand, this might be given an even lower priority when there are sensitive community issues at stake. In cases where the Local Authority takes an interest we understand enforcement is a little better.

Consequently, despite the tight regulation of these machines that are legally sited in pubs, LBO's, gaming centres, clubs, bingo clubs or casinos a number of unscrupulous operators exploit the system and, to our knowledge, are rarely prosecuted.

Under proposed legislation the Gambling Commission and Local Authorities will have power to enforce and it is to be hoped that the number of illegally sited machines will be reduced.

May we take this opportunity to remark that, notwithstanding the above concern, GamCare is pleased to note that the proposed regulatory reform contains necessary safeguards to minimise harm.

3 April 2003

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