WALES: Arcades under Threat as Laws Take Their Toll; TRADITIONAL AMUSEMENTS ON BRINK

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Byline: By OWEN HUGHES

SEASIDE towns in North Wales expect arcade closures and job losses six months after the Government introduced new laws on gambling.

The legislation allowed for new casinos to be built and an expansion in online gambling, but at the same time brought in tougher regulations on traditional arcades.

Many, including several in North Wales, have seen their profit margins squeezed as a result of increased competition and more red tape. Arcade owners have warned some may close.

ClwydWest MP David Jones yesterday warned that tourist spots like Rhyl and Towyn would be badly hit by the changes as amusement arcades approach their first summer season with the new rules in place.

WilliamKnightly, owner of Knightly's Amusement Park, Towyn, said: "These extra burdens on our industry will put firms out of business in the coming months and years, with the smaller family run places most at risk.

"Just the additional regulations have added pounds 2,000 onmy annual costs for me to basically do what I have always done. This will cause huge damage to Rhyl and Towyn, there is no doubt about that."

The British Amusement Catering Trade Association (BACTA)warned: "The gaming machine industry, representing thousands of UK jobs at seaside and inland towns, faces continued dramatic decline unless Government takes immediate measures to mitigate the unintended consequences of the Gambling Act. …