HC Deb 02 February 1996 vol 270 c969W
Mr. Pike

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the ages at which people may play on AWP machines in different categories of establishment; what representations he has received for standardisation of age; and if he will make a statement. [12852]

Mr. Kirkhope

The playing of amusement-with-prizes machines in current use is not subject to any statutory age restriction. Amusement arcade operators who are members of the British Amusement Catering Trades Association—BACTA—operate a voluntary police whereby persons under 16 are not allowed in inland arcades and local school children of any age are not allowed in seaside arcades during school hours.

The Government have received representations from the amusement arcades action group. United Kingdom forum on young people and gambling and Dr. Sue Fisher at the university of Plymouth that all AWP machines should be subject to a statutory age limit of 18; and from the National Council on Gambling that all AWP machines should be confined to adult premises.

The draft Deregulation (Gaming Machines and Betting Office Facilities) Order provides for a machine with a £10 cash prize. Persons under 18 would not be allowed access to these machines in arcades. The machines would also be permitted in betting shops, where there is a statutory prohibition on access by persons under 18, and in liquor licensed premises and licensed bingo clubs, which are essentially adult environments.