Bacta To Ban Under-18s From Using Fruit Slot Machines At Arcades

Fruit Slot

British amusement machine association Bacta has announced that it will be banning all under-18s from using Category D fruit slot machines at entertainment centres.

Bacta (British Amusement Catering Trade Association) announced the news this week, revealing that under the rules all of its members will be required to stop minors from using the fruit slot machines at venues such as seaside arcades and family entertainment centres.

As reported by iGamingBusiness, the rule will be reviewed at Bacta’s upcoming annual general meeting on November 26th, and if approved, will be implemented March 1st, 2021.

Although minors will be prohibited from using the fruit slot machines under the rules, Bacta has confirmed that they will still be available to adults and will not be segregated from other machines.

James Miller, the President of Bacta, said the organisation made the decision to create a safer, family-friendly environment, saying: “Our members are all about providing fun and entertainment to the whole family as part of their annual holiday or day trip to the seaside.

“We take social responsibility extremely seriously, and although Category D cash payout fruit machines operate at very low stake and prize limits which are predominantly played by adults for fun and nostalgia, we wanted to do our utmost and limit any potential risks to gambling harm.”

Bacta Chief Executive John White added: “Category D fruit machines have been long considered as part of the entertainment offer associated with seaside holidays and a trip to the arcade.

“Regulators in the past have therefore not imposed an age restriction on them. However, our members understand that perceptions change and we want to ensure that we do everything possible to protect players.”

The news comes after gambling licensing body the UK Gambling Commission announced its support for the upcoming Safer Gambling Week campaign, of which Bacta as well as the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) and the Bingo Association (BGA) are leading.

This year’s campaign, which runs between November 19th and 25th, will be using the “Let’s Talk About Safer Gambling” tagline and will promote several responsible gambling messages at real-life venues, online website, and on social media through posters, web banners, social media content, leaflets, and more.

Speaking about the Safer Gambling Week 2020 campaign, John White said: “Safer Gambling Week gives the industry a great opportunity not only to highlight to customers the information and support that is widely available throughout the year, and how we help ensure they gamble more safely, but also for operators and staff to reassess what they do and how they do it in delivering safer gambling messages to customers and helping them find support should they need it.”

Safer Gambling Around The World

The news also comes after the Dutch Gambling Authority Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) announced a brand new partnership with Facebook to crack down on illegal gambling and raise standards within the industry.

According to Gambling Insider, the KSA claims to have received numerous reports on illegal online lotteries that have been taking place “for some time now” on Facebook without the required licensing.

Under the brand new partnership, the KSA can report organisers of online lotteries to Facebook with a request to remove the group responsible and organisers will be contacted and informed of the violation.

Reports suggest that the regulator has already reported several groups to Facebook, which the social media giant removed after a thorough investigation.

In a statement on its website, the KSA said its partnership with Facebook is the “fastest and most effective way to stop violations of the Gambling Act” and confirmed the rules regarding online lotteries.

It said: “Games of chance, such as lotteries, where participation must be paid for, may only be offered it a license has been granted. It is not possible to obtain a permit if there is a commercial objective; the law says that at least 40% of the proceeds should go to charity.”

The news comes after gambling operator GVC Holdings announced last week that it would be pulling out of all unregulated gambling markets as part of a move to improve safety within the industry and a wider identity revamp.

As we reported last week, GVC Holdings is planning on revamping its entire identity, starting with a name change to Entain PLC. According to GVC, the new name reflects the company’s ambition to becoming a leader within the industry but is still subject to a shareholder vote.

What’s more, GVC has confirmed its working on withdrawing from all unregulated markets and has been developing its responsible gambling practices, working towards having the highest standards, and has confirmed plans to invest in its staff, customers, and local communities.

Apollo Management And William Hill

Also this week, investment fund Apollo Management has confirmed it has not put down another offer for William Hill. The popular British bookmaker is currently in talks to be acquired by US casino operator Caesars Entertainment for £2.9 billion.

The acquisition was announced back in September but is still subject to a shareholder vote as well as regulatory approval. The deal is expected to finalise in the second half of 2021.

When we first reported on the story, Apollo had made two rival bids on the British bookmaker but has now announced that it has not made another bid to take over the company.

Due to Apollo’s announcement this week, the group will be prohibited from bidding on William Hill for a period of six months, as reported by FocusGN.

An exception to the rule is if Apollo places a bid on William Hill’s European business which Caesars Entertainment is reportedly planning to sell. The company can also place a bid if Caesars’ offer falls through or if a third-party places a bid.

If Caesars Entertainment’s bid is approved, the group, which already owns a 20% stake in William Hill’s US-based operations, will take over the entire company. It has plans to integrate the bookmaker’s US businesses with minimal job cuts.