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Gamble With the International Casinos
Even before gaming regulation passes into law,
overseas operators are investing millions in casinos and UK venues can
see dollar signs flashing on the one-arm bandits. Abigail Townsend asks
if anything can upset the punters
Las Vegas, move over. The Government’s long-awaited overhaul of the
country’s antiquated gambling laws will affect every area of gaming but,
as any wannabe Donald Trump will tell you, casinos are where the big
Alongside UK operators such as Rank, Gala and Stanley Leisure – owner
of the Star Casino in Birmingham, currently the UK’s biggest gaming
venue – overseas businesses are aiming to cash in. The foreigners have
natural advantages: big pockets, experience in more developed markets
and a hunger for expansion.
Yet before they can lavish their wares on the new and improved UK
market, stumbling blocks remain as the proposed Gambling Bill progresses
into law. One of the biggest should be tackled later this month, when
the Government publishes its response to the Scrutiny Committee’s report
on the Bill. The cross-party group has expressed its concern about the
development of gaming sheds hous- ing row upon row of slot machines.
Members of the Committee travelled to Australia, where they have similar
outlets, and were disturbed by what they saw. It all comes down to
"problem gambling": people get addicted when they can chance their arm
quickly and repeatedly.
Armed with this knowledge, the Committee advised limiting the amount
of high-value jackpots. Large casinos, it recommended, should be allowed
eight slot machines per gaming table, while at the bigger resort
complexes, the total number should be capped at 1,250.
Professor Leighton Vaughan Williams is director of the betting
research unit at Nottingham Trent University and gave evidence to the
Committee. He says: "If a casino only had gaming machines and no tables,
it would make a good profit. If it had tables and no machines, it
wouldn’t. So it’s a balancing act.
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2004 Online Casino News Archive