Slot machine
Image: Shutterstock

GamCare has stated that any upcoming changes to land-based gambling and gaming machines in the UK must put player protection at the forefront.

The charity noted that it has welcomed many of the proposals by the DCMS to strengthen land-based gambling player protections, which include time and monetary limits, increased card account verification, staff alerts when mandatory limits are hit, and restricting access to category D low-stakes machines for under 18s.

However, some of GamCare’s audience believe a few of the proposals could increase gambling-related harm.

Focusing on electronic gaming machines, the charity is pushing for safer gambling measures across casinos, arcades and bingo premises, as well as enhancing player protections for those using EGMs.

Regarding their consultation response, GamCare highlighted four specific points – changes to the number of EGMs, player protections, cashless payments, and ‘cash-out’ machine age limits.

For changes to the number of EGMs, GamCare stated that it was “concerned” that allowing more EGMs with higher stakes across premises could increase gambling-related harms. 

The charity added that the Local Government Association has claimed there’s already a “lack of local government power to manage gambling premises, and the new proposals could potentially worsen the situation”.

Stronger player protection measures are also being requested, including monetary and time limits, deposit limits and automated breaks in play, more consistent and effective safer gambling messaging, staff alerts when limits are reached, and a permanent prominent  display of net position and time.

GamCare is also pushing for cashless payments management with the addition of card account verification for every transaction, as well as a maximum deposit limit to avoid unintended spending consequences for individuals.

Regarding ‘cash-out’ machine age limits, the charity’s audience is asking for category D slot machines to be restricted to those over 18 as they “may represent a heightened risk for children and young people as a gateway into harmful-gambling later in life”.

In September, GamCare called for the maximum stake for online slots to be set at £2 after published data revealed the percentage of people calling the National Gambling Helpline for gambling support related to online slots has almost doubled in the last five years.