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KSA backs removal of gambling machines from family arcades

| By Robert Fletcher
Dutch gambling regulator Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has given its backing to plans to remove gaming machines based on games of chance from family arcades, in order to stop minors from gambling illegally.
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Family Entertainment Centers Nederland (FEC Nederland), the organisation that represents 70% of family arcades in the country, has written to the KSA to set out its plans to remove games of chance machines from the arcades it represents.

So-called family entertainment centres feature a range of arcade, skill and fairground machines such as air hockey, pinball and virtual reality, with a focus on providing a source of entertainment to children and adults.

Minors are already banned from playing games of chance on the machines, but FEC Nederland said their continued presence in family arcades makes it difficult to monitor activity across the country.

As such, FEC Nederland said its arcades will not purchase any new machines in this category, with the goal of removing all such games within the next 10 years.

FEC Nederland also said it has contacted suppliers and all non-members to make them aware of the initiative and encourage them to also commit to the scheme.

Games of skill will be permitted to remain in arcades under the FEC Nederland scheme. These include so-called ‘fairground games’ that pay out in other prizes as an alternative to money, such as tickets or physical goods.

The KSA acknowledged that current laws surrounding games of chance machines in family arcades – based on the Games of Chance Act signed in 1964 – do not go far enough to protect people. The Act permits the machines to run at arcades.

“The legislator, who made this law in 1964, envisioned vending machines at traveling fairs and in amusement and holiday parks,” the KSA said. “The risk of developing gambling addiction in places where people stay for a short time was considered small.

“The exception means that no model permission (inspection) and operating permit are required for fairground machines. The disadvantage of this is that proper supervision is not possible.”

The KSA added that the increasing number of permanent entertainment centres in the country, including family arcades, has led to more games of chance machines going live, and thus being more easily accessible to minors.

“FEC Netherlands argues for amendment of the legislation so that fairground machines with games of chance are no longer possible; the KSA endorses this plea,” the KSA said.

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