Thursday, October 14, 2004
British Casino Liberalisation
The long-brewing liberalisation of British gambling laws is creeping ahead, with the reforms scheduled to be submitted to Parliament within a few weeks. While the lottery, betting shops, and even betting via interactive television are popular in Britain, the 130 or so British casinos tend to be rather small, and are subject to much stricter controls than are US casinos:
Under Britain's 1968 Gaming Act, casinos operate as private members' clubs and gamblers must apply for membership 24 hours before they can enter. Rules banning live entertainment and alcohol served at gaming tables have been lifted recently, but the clubs are still restricted to eight gaming machines, with a 50 pence maximum stake and jackpots limited to 2,000 pounds [Australian dollars]$A4,970.One of the proposals for the ill-conceived Millennium Dome involves making part of it into a casino, of course. Hmm, are there any other hugely wasteful white elephant buildings out there that could use a cash injection and a new lease on life?
The draft legislation scraps the 24-hour rule and lets casinos larger than 5,000 square metres install up to 1,250 so-called category A machines which have unlimited stakes and jackpots.
Vice Squad has been tracking British gambling liberalisation almost since the inception of the Squad, oh but we have, and annoyingly spelling "liberalisation" with an "s" much of the time, too.