Gaming Machines – UK – June 2008

Abstract

Will new legislation result in Gaming Machines losing out to other forms of gambling? The UK's gaming machines industry is unique in the number of leisure sectors in which it has a stake: as well as in dedicated amusement arcades, slots are played everywhere from pubs, clubs and casinos to bingo halls, betting shops and leisure centres. But the sector is also unique in being restricted by law in the numbers of machines each of these venues can accommodate, and the prices consumers may be charged to play. The influence of legislation on the fortunes of the market is currently more acute than ever, with the introduction of the new Gambling Act in September 2007 following just two months after the implementation of the smoking ban. Gaming machines attain high levels of penetration against other gambling activities. However, the facts that they largely enjoy only occasional rather than regular custom; that they are secondary rather than primary attractions in most of the venues they inhabit; and that they are approached with suspicion by the public at large, mean that the industry faces challenges from several different directions. This report examines the key challenges the industry faces under current market conditions and assesses the range of responses available to it by testing the hypothesis that "legislative issues such as the new Gambling Act and the smoking ban are having a significant negative impact on the gaming machines industry, which, combined with existing negative perceptions of gaming machines amongst consumers, will make it increasingly difficult for the sector to compete for a share of consumers' gambling pound." Key report themes: What have been the main effects of the implementation of the Gambling Act? How are changes in other leisure sectors affecting the playing of gaming machines? Where do gaming machines fit in to the evolving gambling market? Who plays gaming machines? How often do they play? What are the main barriers to increasing participation in gaming machine play? How can the current decline be stemmed or even reversed?

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