UK casinos “under more pressure than ever to ensure people gamble responsibly”

Genting Casino responsible gaming
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Genting Torquay and Plymouth general manager, Kevin Gale, discusses consumer trends and highlights the operator’s continuing commitment to responsible gaming.

 

Kevin Gale, general manager of Genting Casinos properties in Torquay and Plymouth, identified some of the recent trends in the UK industry during a recent interview.

Genting  Torquay and Plymouth General Manager Kevin Gale
Kevin Gale, General Manager , Genting Torquay and Plymouth

With the company’s Torquay casino currently drawing in around 850 customers a week, Gale noted that ETGs and slot machines continue to draw in customers.

“The electronic side of the business is becoming more popular,” he stated. “The slot machines are used a lot too, they start from as low as 10p, so people can just play and enjoy it without spending too much.

“Friday and Saturday nights are more leisure-based, with people coming in for a drink to enjoy with their friends. Some of the quieter nights can be more exciting though as you get more serious players in there.”

Having previously worked overseas in Vietnam, Gale observed that while baccarat continues to be immensely popular across Asia, this does not appear to be the case in the south west of England.

“Baccarat is very popular in the Far East. In Vietnam I had 40 or 50 tables for it, but here we have just got rid of the one we did have because nobody played it and replaced it with blackjack,” he continued.

Moving on to the topic of regulation, the Genting executive noted that the UK industry continues to represent an international benchmark. “The UK industry is so well-regulated that new casinos [overseas] are very quick to bring in guys from England to train staff,” added Gale.

Despite this, he suggests that casinos in Britain are still under pressure to implement further responsible gambling measures.

“The popularity of online casinos has presented a challenge to the more traditional set-ups, while they are also under more pressure than ever to ensure people gamble responsibly,” Gale contextualised.

“I think the business has changed massively over the years. We very much lead our own social responsibility, …I think Genting are at the forefront of it.

“The staff are all trained to recognise issues and report it to managers, who have lots of interactions with customers.

“We have SENSE [the Self-Enrolment National Self-Exclusion scheme] too. We have to be very involved in it. We also know most of our customers, so we can pick up on changes in behaviour.”

While a cut to the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs or Category B2 gaming machines) from £100 to £2 came into effect in April, the UK’s land-based gaming industry continues to face both regulatory scrutiny and an anti-gambling narrative in the media.

The Gambling Commission recently concluded a call for evidence for additional player protections on Category B gaming machines in mid- and has stated that it would “consider extending existing Category B2 protections to Category B1 and B3 machines”.

“Society puts a lot of trust in us and the onus is on me that it survives as a business but also protects people,” Gale affirmed. “I don’t let some of the negativity get me down. We aren’t betting shops at the end of the day – we know our customers and it is in our best interests to make sure they are okay.”


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