UK laws governing gaming machines are discriminating against pubs, according to the Scottish Licensed Trade Association.
The trade body has written to business, innovation and skills secretary Vince Cable to request a review of the legislation covering amusement with prizes (AWP) machines, which it says is more restrictive to pubs than other premises, particularly with respect to cash payouts.
“Bookmakers are equipped with £250 payout AWP machines while for the same stake in pubs and bars the payout is £70,” said the SLTA in a statement. “Registered clubs, now under the jurisdiction of the same 2005 licensing Act as pubs and bars, have retained a £250 jackpot in their AWP machines.
“Surely in the interests of fair competition and non-discrimination, payout levels for AWP machines should be the same in all premises providing such entertainment.”
The SLTA has also objected to the UK government’s new duty system for machines, which sees publicans taxed a percentage of the profits they make.
Chief executive Paul Waterson said the current regime could prompt more operators to remove games machines from their premises. “The revenues have been so low over the last few years that a lot of people have taken them out already,” he said. “But, certainly, I wouldn’t be surprised if more people take them out now.”