Yorkshire Post backs B3 changes

30/11/2010

Mark Branagan of the Yorkshire Post writes that more jobs could be on the way to resorts on the East Coast under moves to relax the legislation on B3 machines.

In his positive pieace, Branagan points out that “Hornsea and Withernsea were both hit hard by changes to the law involving slot machines and the gaming arcade industry.

After the implementation of the Gambling Act in 2005 amusement arcades were hit with a change in regulations covering machines offering prizes were changed and thousands of jobs were lost across the country including in Withernsea and Hornsea.

Now the Government has announced it is looking to change the rules on the number of machines and the size of stakes allowed in family amusement centres. Tourism Minister and Weston-super-Mare MP John Penrose says he wants to support seaside town arcades and bingo halls.

He has launched proposals to relax controls on Category B3 slot machines, which are specified according to the maximum stake and prize available and which are a significant source of income for arcades and bingo halls.

Since 2007, following the Gambling Act (2005), 255 adult gaming centres and 91 bingo clubs across the UK have closed and East Coast arcade owners have also been feeling the pressure.

Mr Penrose said arcades and bingo halls play an important part to our local economy but like many businesses, had had a really tough couple of years. ”These changes should help them boost their revenues, preventing closures and securing local jobs,” he added.

“Of course, it’s vitally important that changes aren’t at the expense of the public protection objectives of the Gambling Act, which is why I’m urging people to let me know if they think the changes strike the right balance.”

Beverley and Holderness MP Graham Stuart has been lobbying ministers and pushing for changes from the top. He said: “At last we’re making progress. We’re not there yet but, if the consultation goes smoothly, then the changes can be made and our arcades will be put on a much better footing.”

He said the impact on tourism in Withernsea and Hornsea had been huge but now the trend could reverse.The consultation closes on January 25, For more information go to www.culture.gov.uk/consultations/7437.aspx.”

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