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UK Relaxes ‘Land-Based Gambling’ Rules as Online Betting Grows



The British government is loosening its rules for brick-and-mortar betting businesses as online gambling grows.

The U.K.’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport issued a report Thursday (May 16) that would allow for cashless payments on gaming machines in places like casinos, arcades and bingo halls, while introducing an age limit of 18 for these machines.

The rules would allow establishments to install more machines and raise the maximum cap on fees the government can charge for gambling licenses by 15%.

“Together we believe these measures will support the land-based gambling sector and modernize the current outdated restrictions, as well as helping to protect young people and supporting licensing authorities,” the government said in a statement quoted by Reuters.

The proposed changes are arriving about a year after the government launched a campaign to introduce reforms — like new online stake limits and increased affordability checks — to reduce problem gambling, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, the growing popularity of betting apps has been bringing gambling more into consumers’ lives, PYMNTS reported May 4, leading to a situation where “even Skee-Ball is getting the Las Vegas treatment.”

At the time, restaurant and entertainment center chain Dave & Buster’s and gaming technology firm Lucra Sports announced they were teaming up to add “gamification software” to the former’s app for loyalty program members.

To be clear, the announcement from Lucra avoided the language of betting and wagering, preferring to call it “real-money contests or challenges,” functioning under different regulations than a gambling operator.

As PYMNTS wrote at the time, companies can keep consumers financially engaged — fueling spending and loyalty — by offering betting opportunities such as these, and especially by tying them exclusively to rewards program members.

“You’re going to see a lot more incentives to move your money around in an ecosystem,” Ingo Payments CEO Drew Edwards said in an interview with PYMNTS last year. “I’m at the table, I win money, it goes in my app, I can then bet on the game while I’m at dinner, then I can come back and move it back to the table. I see that as a trend.

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