The relationship between the regulatory environment governing commercial gambling and the shape of the market in the supply and game parameters of gaming machines

Abstract

This paper has three main purposes. The first sets the controls over the supply and the game parameters of gaming machines within the broader regulatory environment governing commercial gambling in Great Britain. This account notes the tensions that existed prior to the regime introduced by the Gambling Act 2005, but whose legacy continues to present both regulatory and commercial difficulties. Its second purpose is to indicate how these controls have shaped the gaming machine market and the debate around the ways in which the government could realise its policy of striking a balance between the interests of both operators and players. This paper does not address the regulation of online gambling; that is, ‘remote gambling’ by means of ‘remote communication’ (s. 4 of the Gambling Act 2005). Its third purpose is to provide a critical account of the regulatory regime governing the availability of gaming machines as the background against which the Responsible Gambling Trust’s other commissioned contextual papers may be read. The text falls into four sections: An overview of the regulation of machines under the Gaming Act 1968 and of the reasons underlying the structure of the new regime; A summary of the overall regulatory structure of the 2005 Act; A descriptive account of the 2005 Act’s regulation of machines; Some concluding comments on how these arrangements have shaped both the commercial availability of gaming machines and the debate about how the interests of operators and of players can be accommodated

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