Sir Roger Gale
Member of Parliament for North Thanet (Margate, Herne Bay & The Villages)
Seaside Amusement Arcades - Tories Pledge to Amend Gaming Act.
February 25th 2008
The Conservative Party has this week pledged to amend the Labour Government's Gaming Act to remove the perverse effects of the legislation upon the seaside amusement arcade and machine manufacturing trades.
This undertaking follows a visit by Shadow Minister Tobias Ellwood to South Thanet at the request of Laura Sandys and a meeting between North Thanet's MP, Roger Gale and Shadow DCMS Secretary of State, Jeremy Hunt.
In a joint statement Laura Sandys and Roger Gale have said:
"It has become clear that one of a number of the unintended consequences of the Government's ill thought through 2005 Act has been damage to the profitability of seaside arcades while encouraging the growth of "adult gaming centres" and the spread of bookmakers shops.
The Trade have made it clear that unless they are allowed to revert to the stakes and numbers of machines permitted prior to the passing of Labour's Act still more businesses will go to the wall.
The family amusement arcades are an integral part of the British Seaside Resort and form an important part of the all-weather offer in terms of facilities. They rely upon the principle that a flutter on the machines is a form of buying entertainment - which it is - and not some kind of investment - which it is not.
It is not good enough for Government Ministers to say, as they did last Friday, that "there is a serious problem" for the industry and that "we want to support the gaming industry and bingo" when it is the measures that they have passed themselves that have caused the difficulty.
The trade association, BACTA, has made representations to government and they have our full support in that. Roger Gale will be meeting with the Chief Executive of BACTA tomorrow (Tuesday) on behalf of the Thanet and Herne Bay Arcade and Machine Manufacturing Industry to see what further measures may be taken to persuade the present Government to change its legislation.
If this Government does not respond to industry representations then we have a clear undertaking that the next Conservative Government will - but with up to two years to run before the next general election that may be too late for some businesses".