What effect would the changes in gambling laws have

01:00 Thu 26th Jul 2001 |

asks Admason:

Sir Alan Budd's gambling review, published recently, recommends scrapping the UK's restrictive gambling laws. He would like to see gambling regarded as a leisure activity, similar to bowling or golf.

Q. Will it prove popular
Does the nation buy its Lottery ticket on a Saturday night Even at those massive odds, the appeal of winning a fortune in return for a small investment is very seductive indeed. There's so little doubt that such a move would be popular that stocks in companies which run casinos and betting shops have risen sharply in anticipation of a gambling bonanza.

Q. Isn't there a lot more gambling about now anyway
Yes. The National Lottery has made gambling very acceptable now. And soon there will be armchair betting with 'Goracing', a TV channel that will bring live horse-race betting into your own living-room.

Q. So what would happen if the Budd recommendations go through
Bookmakers would be allowed to increase the current two slot machines with a maximum �15 prize to four machines with a maximum �500 prize.

Bingo clubs could offer multi-million pound rollover games. You wouldn't have to join a bingo club or casino 24 hours before being allowed to play.

The casino industry would benefit most because it would be allowed to offer more Las Vegas-style gambling with betting, bingo and jackpot machines - plus alcohol served at tables and live entertainment.

The UK would turn into a gambling mecca, says David Michels, chief executive of Hilton Group, which owns Ladbrokes.

Q. Who would be better off
Everyone but the losers, as usual. Peter Collins, director of the Centre for the Study of Gambling at the University of Salford, says that if the recommendations go through, gross gaming revenue would double (at the moment it's �7.5 billion a year).

Q. How likely is it to happen
The Budd Report is only a list of recommendations, and the Government is not under any obligation to agree with them. However, it's a popular move, so watch this space...

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