BACTA and Commission at further odds

07/03/2012

The discord between the British trade association and the Gambling Commission over arcade owners seeking betting licenses, has escalated.

The Commission has rejected BACTA’s complaint that it was acting beyond its brief in calling before it arcade owners who sought betting licenses. BACTA has contended that the practice is perfectly legal and the licence-holder should not have his ability to operate his arcade questioned.

The Gambling Commission has acceded to BACTA’s request that the manner in which the operators are being ‘carpeted’ is unreasonable and is holding an inquiry. But it refuses BACTA’s request to stop the practice of reviewing operators’ licenses if they set up a betting shop facility alongside their arcade.

BACTA has written to the Gambling Commission deploring the ‘continued injustice’ and accused the Commission of stepping up the pressure on operators by issuing further licence reviews.

BACTA Chief Executive Leslie MacLeod-Miller (pictured) has particularly questioned the Commission’s failure to consult the association. He draws attention to the recent debate over the status of SWP machines when the Commission issued a draft advice note which was then fully discussed with the association and the concerned parties within the industry. That process was followed by working together to promote compliance.

“In an outcomes-based regime, which seeks to avoid duplication and work collaboratively, the current approach of the Commission which causes duplication, causes personal distress, is costly for individual operators who require third party assistance and is inconsistent, the current manner of dealing with this issue sits very uncomfortably and should be of great concern to the Commissioners.”

BACTA is taken up the matter through the Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman and plans to make a formal complaint unless there is a ‘more constructive’ outcome.

David Snook

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