Online casinos are a popular way to spend your time, with all the fun of poker, baccarat, roulette, and slots replayed in the comfort of your own home.
But playing online comes with its fair share of risks. How can you be sure that your online casino of choice is playing fair with you and your money?
That’s where Bacta come in — to keep you safe by ensuring that online casinos operating in the UK are meeting gambling industry standards. But who are Bacta, and what do they do?
Who are Bacta?
Bacta stands for the British Amusement Catering Trade Association. Established way back in 1974, Bacta is a nonprofit trade body that serves and represents the needs of British amusement arcades and high street game developers and operators.
What do Bacta do?
With the interests of the British amusement industry at its heart, Bacta campaigns to ensure that national legislation does not negatively impact the businesses, operators, and arcades that make up its more than 500 members. These include small-to-medium enterprises at its lowest level, and global businesses like gambling companies Novomatic and the Gauselmann Group.
Their campaigns involve taking their cases to the highest levels of government, right up to 10 Downing Street. Their campaigns also focus on promoting the industry’s interests in the ongoing tourist debate.
As well as political activism, Bacta also works to change the way that the gaming industry is viewed by encouraging social responsibility. Since 1991, their dedicated charity, the Bacta Charitable Trust, has donated in excess of £3.25 million to a number of causes such as Macmillan Cancer Support and the Prince's Youth Business Trust.
Who do Bacta campaign for?
Bacta’s members span a wide range of businesses and industries, each who have their own unique interests protected and fought for by Bacta.
Family entertainment centres
Family entertainment centres (FECs) include amusement arcades, pleasure piers, bingo halls, and more. Perhaps the most famous example of a family entertainment centre is Brighton Palace Pier, a pleasure pier that dates back to 1823. FECs play an important role in tourism, as well as providing a number of jobs for the local community.
Adult gaming centres
With a strict minimum age limit of 18, adult gaming centres (AGCs) are a staple of the great British high street. They usually house a variety of fruit and slot machines, and one of Bacta’s recent successful campaigns has been the adoption of social responsibility throughout the AGC industry.
Another great British favourite, bingo halls also rely on gaming machines to help support them. Bingo clubs tend to make a loss on food and drink sales, and the cost of entry often goes back to the players in prizes. Game machines therefore play a key role in keeping this great British tradition alive.
There are plenty of pubs around the country that play host to at least one fruit machine. These are known as amusements with prizes (AWPs), and play a significant and profitable role in the pub industry. The average weekly income from pub fruit machines has declined in recent years, in part due to betting shop chains enticing customers in with other machines. Bacta works to protect the pub industry by promoting and protecting AWPs.
What have Bacta been up to recently?
One of Bacta’s most recent successes has been their campaign to reduce the maximum stake on FOBTs (fixed odds betting terminals e.g. roulette, bingo, or virtual horse racing) from £100 to £2, with a maximum prize of £150. Bacta argued that implementing these changes would help reduce the spiralling and damaging effect of gambling addictions. At the same time, it would increase the profitability of pub fruit machines, which in turn will breathe new life back into the declining pub industry.
Their campaign was backed by Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith and in May of 2018 the government agreed to reduce the maximum stake on FOBTs. While the legislation will not come into place until 2019, it was a significant victory not just for Bacta, but for problem gamblers across the country.
Bacta play a vital role in the gambling industry, and has made great strides to serve the interests of its many members. For more information on Bacta and what they do, head to their website.
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