British amusement trade association Bacta has followed up its meeting with former Conservative party leader, Iain Duncan Smith, with another appointment at Whitehall, this time with Tracey Crouch MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport and Civil Society.
The member for Chatham and Aylesford and the politician with responsibility for the gambling industry in all of its guises, met with Bacta chief executive John White and vice president James Miller in a meeting which provided an opportunity for the trade association to present its empirically based arguments on a range of issues including the central importance of reducing the maximum FOBT stake to £2 and the need to re-examine the stake and prize levels for cranes, pushers and non-cash payout machines.
Reporting on the meeting, John White said: “It’s very important for Bacta to have access to decision makers and influencers and I’m pleased that we have been able to reinforce our arguments with two senior politicians in the space of a week. While the precise details of our conversations clearly have to remain confidential, Tracey Crouch and before her, Iain Duncan Smith, have displayed a progressive outlook and an understanding of the social responsibility commitments made by our members, the important role that family businesses play in local communities and the commercial pressures they are facing as major contributors to the tourism and leisure economy.”
He added: “Obviously the FOBT issue is very timely and the Centre for Economics and Business Research report provides a progressive case for a £2 stake which is far removed from the initial impact assessment quoted by the government and which takes into account the costs of addressing the significant social problems caused by FOBTs. However, most of our time with Tracey Crouch was spent explaining why stake and prize increases for cranes and pushers are warranted and necessary. As requested we will be submitting further evidence to support our case. As the PwC player research demonstrated our industry is about Fun which is the huge point of difference between our businesses and the bookmakers: I’m confident this fundamental point is being recognised by government.”
Photo caption: John White, Bacta chief executive; Tracey Crouch MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport and Civil Society; and, James Miller, vice president of bacta