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Seaside Amusement Arcades - MP Challenges Minister (May 12th 2008)

North Thanetís MP Roger Gale has this (Monday) afternoon challenged DCMS Minister of State Gerry Sutcliffe to swiftly reverse government decisions damaging the interests of seaside amusement arcades or see more of these facilities close.

Speaking at question time in the House of Commons Roger Gale said:

"I am sure that it was not the intention of the Minister of State who took the Gambling Act through committee (Dick Caborn) to damage the interests of the seaside towns but the fact of the matter is that even as we speak the arcades that are a vital part of our wet-weather tourist offer are closing.  If the Minister does not act in time for this season it will be too late"..

Responding, Gerry Sutcliff said that he was meeting the Trade Organisation (BACTA) today and that he hoped to announce a decision in the near future.

Commenting after the exchange Roger Gale said.

"The intent behind the legislation was to control the spread of high-value High Street Adult Gaming Centres.  The impact upon controlling what were already very modest stakes has been to damage industry that is very valuable to East Kent.  Successful businessmen like David Cain, with outlets in Herne Bay and Margate, and machine manufacturers and dealers like Harry Levyís business in Margate and Cromptons, one of the oldest companies in the game, are facing very serious financial situations.

The irony is that we have seen a growth in the number of betting shops now offering gaming machine facilities and Canterbury City, which denied Herne Bay the opportunity to seek a casino license that might have contributed to the reconstruction of the pier, now has gaming facilities within yards of Canterbury Cathedral!

We need the Minister to act and to act immediately"

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