By Hilary Stewart-Jones and Belinda Palmer
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (the DCMS) published the main sections of the draft Gambling Bill. We attach a link to the Bill, together with commentary from the DCMS and a regulatory impact assessment. The Bill has only just been published and we are currently looking through it and will follow up with observations on its impact as soon as possible. The address this morning in which Tessa Jowell, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, announced publication of the Bill. Ms Jowell made it clear that the Bill is not set in stone, that the DCMS is now entering into the next stage of consultation, which will involve further scrutiny of the Bill, and that the DCMS is still interested in hearing people's views on the Bill.


News on FOBTs

Tessa Jowell also announced today that the DCMS was placing fixed odds betting terminals ('FOBTs') 'on probation'. By this she means, as she went on to explain, that the DCMS would not be taking any further immediate action in relation to the FOBTs, but would rather wait for the Code of Practice currently being drawn up by the Association of British Bookmakers. Ms Jowell stated that she understood that the Code of Practice would include the following limitations on FOBTs in betting shops:

Ø 4 machines per office;

Ø maximum £15 stake;

Ø maximum winnings of £500;

Ø limit of one game per 30 seconds on newly-inserted/increased stake; and

Ø limit of one game per 20 seconds on replaying on the same stake.

No limitation on content appears to have been made or on the supply online by bookmakers outside the betting shops.

Ms Jowell also stated that they would look to the bookmakers to monitor the ongoing 'socially responsible' use of FOBTs.

This is good news for bookmakers as it means that the Gaming Board is not likely to take its current case against bookmakers any further. However, the bookmakers will need to prove that they can self regulate the use of these machines to a degree which is satisfactory to the DCMS.

by Hilary Stewart-Jones and Belinda Palmer

Berwin Leighton Paisner

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