The hospitality industry has broadly welcomed the start of the 2005 Gambling Act today (1 September).
The liberalisation of gambling laws in the UK will allow pub operators to raise payout amounts on fruit and quiz machines from £25 to £35 and casino operators to promote their food and beverage offerings for the first time.
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of Business in Sport and Leisure, embraced the greater operational flexibility for casino operators claiming the changes were long overdue and the previous law outdated.
Alex Kaden, food and beverage director at London Clubs International (ICL), told Caterer that the act would mark a change in the way the company does business.
ICL becomes the first operator to open a casino in the UK within the new gambling regime with a site opening today in Nottingham.
Kaden said: "We will use the act to attract a new market and people who would never consider going to a casino. With a more liberal approach in how you can advertise, we can now advertise the food and beverage within our venues. This will allow us to find a new market and we can promote the all-under-one-roof experience."
Thanks to a challenge by the British Beer & Pub Association last month the Department for Culture, Media and Sport conceded that pubs holding existing gaming machine permits for up to two machines with expiry dates after 1 September would not be forced to shell out for a new permit until their existing ones expire.
However, pubs that wish to add a third machine or more to the premises under the new legislation will need to apply for the relevant permit from their local authority afresh.
Pub industry body wins concession on gaming worth £750,000 >>
By Christopher Walton