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Last Updated: Friday, 22 February 2008, 17:36 GMT
Gambling law 'threat to arcades'
Amusement arcade in Ramsgate
Thanet's seaside arcades are among those affected
Traditional seaside amusement arcades could go out of business after changes in the gambling laws, a Kent MP has told the House of Commons.

Stephen Ladyman said businesses in his constituency, which includes Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Sandwich, were badly affected by the new Gambling Act.

Family arcades had seen a 15% loss in revenue, while machine manufacturers had lost 16% of their income.

Gambling minister Gerry Sutcliffe said he would be meeting arcade operators.

The issue was first brought to Mr Ladyman's attention by Harry Levy Amusements, which has manufactured fruit machines in Thanet for more than 28 years.

If they go, I don't know what you are going to replace them with
Colin Mallery

Spokesman Colin Mallery said that since the change in the law production was down by 50%.

"Usually at this time of year we are extremely busy and have about 75 staff, now we are down to 50," he said.

"We hope the government will reappraise the act. Otherwise it would be a disaster.

"Arcades on Margate seafront and others throughout the country are the regeneration of those seafronts.

"If they go, I don't know what you are going to replace them with."

Mr Ladyman said that before September, the adult sections of seaside arcades were allowed an unlimited number of machines which offered a 500 prize for a 2 stake.

'Generated revenue'

Those had now been outlawed and the arcades were allowed only four machines with a 500 prize for a 1 stake.

"The adult gaming centres attached to the traditional seaside arcades were the things that generated most of the revenue," he told BBC Radio Kent.

He said arcade customers were going to bookmakers instead, which had not been affected by the act, and were still allowed machines which offered a 500 prize for a stake up to 100.

Mr Sutcliffe told the Commons he was aware of the issue and was prepared to look at the details of the law again.

But he added: "Our principal objective in terms of the regulation is to protect the public and I make no apologies for that."



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