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Rank calls for venue gambling laws to be rebalanced

Rank Group Plc has urged the government to radically overhaul the laws governing UK land-based gambling venues, as a remit of its ongoing review of the 2005 Gambling Act.

Yesterday, the LSE gambling group published its 2020/2021 results, which revealed statutory losses of £93 million – as Rank’s trading was gutted by Grosvenor Casino and Mecca Bingo properties observing lockdown for the majority of 2020/2021 trading.

The update saw Rank governance disclose that it had submitted its recommendations to the government calling for a ‘programme of modernisation’ for land-based casinos and bingo venues, which ‘could be realised through secondary legislation’.

Laws for land-based casinos, were deemed to be fragmented as venues licensed under the 1968 Gaming Act observed different rules to Casinos that had secured licensing under the ‘more liberal’ 2005 Gambling Act.

Rank recommended that the government establish a ‘new baseline of gambling regulations’ for UK casinos, taking the positives from the 2005 Act and further safeguards appropriate for the modern consumer.

With 51 of Grosvenor’s 52 Casino properties licensed under the 1968 Act, Rank outlined how its venues had been directly impacted by fragmented rules as its casinos are restricted to 20 machines.

The restrictions are in contrast to casino venues licensed under the 2005 Act, which are able to operate up to 80 machines dependent on customer space requirements.

Rank called for the government to ease rules on table games operated by random number generation to allow customers to individually set their lower stake when playing table games.

Recognising changing consumer habits, Rank recommended that casino and bingo venues be pushed towards implementing ‘cashless transactions’ in their venues, over a continued reliance on cash engagements.

Rank noted that whilst the government review will primarily focus on reforming online rules, the sector required an equitable balance between land-based and digital laws to safeguard UK consumers.

“Our long-standing promise to excite and to entertain our customers and to do so safely remains our core purpose,” commented Rank CEO John O’Reilly,

“The Government’s current review of gambling legislation provides a once in a generation opportunity to deliver the much-needed modernisation of existing land-based gambling regulations which date back over fifty years and impose unnecessary restrictions on our ability to meet the needs of today’s consumers”.

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