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BBPA welcomes exemption for pubs over anti-money laundering regime

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has today welcomed the result of the Money Laundering Regulations 2017 consultation, which has followed a BBPA recommendation in granting pubs an exemption to new regulations, recognising their status as a low-risk gambling environment.

The findings of the consultation stipulate that only holders of casino operating licences will be subject to the requirements under the new regulations. Had pubs been asked to comply with additional regulation, this would have presented a significant additional cost burden.

In its response to the consultation, the BBPA stressed that income derived from gaming machines is an important source of revenue for many pubs, and for some can have a key effect on their viability.

Pubs are already highly regulated by the Licensing Act 2003 (alcohol, regulated entertainment), the BBPA argued, with gaming machines themselves subject to regulation under the Gambling Act 2005 and are controlled through local authority enforcement and licensing.

The BBPA said it was not aware of any evidence that pub fruit machines represent a high risk of money laundering, and that, due to the low stake and prize nature of the Category C gaming machines typically found in pubs, they are extremely unlikely to be used for money laundering activity.

Brigid Simmonds, BBPA Chief Executive, commented, “The BBPA welcomes the exemption, something we had pushed for in our response to the consultation. Pubs are already dealing with huge increases in taxes and costs this year, especially from business rates and the rise in beer duty in the Budget. Pubs are very much a soft-gaming environment, so this was a sensible decision.”