HC Deb 21 November 2002 vol 394 c45WS
The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Tessa Jowell)

A Safe Bet for Success, which we published in March 2002, set out the Government's plans for the overall reform of the controls on gambling. We said that we would categorise gaming machines into four groups. Within these categories, Group D amusement machines would have maximum stakes and prizes of 10p and £5 and would be playable by children. Machines in groups A to C would have maximum stakes and prizes of more than 10p and £5, and would not be playable by children.

We have had representations from the gaming machines and arcades industry about machines with non-money prizes, often called 'crane' machines, which are extensively played by children, especially in arcades at the seaside. These currently operate on a maximum stake of 30p, and their operators have pointed out to us that they will not be commercially viable if their stake is reduced to 10p.

The Government believes that children and gambling should be kept apart and has taken careful note of the conclusions which the Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport have reached on this issue.

But it is important not to endanger the traditions of family entertainment at the seaside, which people have enjoyed for generations.

We are determined as part of our ongoing reform of the controls on gambling to listen carefully to the business sectors involved, and we recognise that there is a case for allowing children's and family amusement machines which do not offer money or exchangeable token or ticket prizes to keep their current maximum stake of 30p.

We have therefore decided that the stake limit which we will propose to Parliament for Category D amusement machines will be 30p if the machine does not offer prizes in money or exchangeable tickets and tokens, and 10p in all other cases.

This will not affect the maximum prize limit which we wish to see for these machines, which will remain at £5. Nor will it affect the stake and prize limits for machines paying out exchangeable tickets and tokens, which will remain at 10p and £5 respectively.