Regulatory Reform Committee

Session 2002-03            21 May 2003

Proposal for the Regulatory Reform (Gaming Machines) Order 2003

The Government laid this proposal before Parliament on 13 March 2003 under the procedure laid down by the Regulatory Reform Act 2001.  The proposal for the regulatory reform order would amend the Gaming Act 1968 by removing restrictions on the way in which money can be paid into, and prizes paid out of, certain categories of gaming machine (jackpot machines and 'higher-value' or 'all-cash' amusement-with-prizes (AWP) machines), most notably to allow jackpot machines to accept payments by means of smartcards and banknotes.  It would dispense with the implication in present legislation that such machines must be able to accept payment for a single play, and would also remove restrictions on the retention of winnings in jackpot machines.

The Committee considered this proposal in accordance with the criteria laid down in the Committee's Standing Order.  It has recommended one amendment to the drafting of the draft order, to clarify its application to payments into higher-value AWP machines.  The report also deals with the Gaming Board guidelines which it is proposed should govern the operation of gaming machines permitted under the proposal. The Committee has raised concerns over the provisions the guidelines make for the reading of smartcards and for crediting a smartcard with the full value owing to a player.  The Committee has in addition recommended that the operation of new payment systems be monitored for their effects, if any, on problem gambling behaviour.

The Committee's full report will be published as its Thirteenth Report of the current Session, HC 715, at 2.00 pm on Wednesday 28 May.  The report will be available from all Stationery Office outlets.  It will also be available on the Committee's publications website ( drghome.htm) from 3.30 pm on the day of publication.