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75% of UK parents take their children to amusement arcades, but evidence shows that arcades are full of gambling advertising and conditioning that could be having an affect on their future.

  • Over 2,600 UK parents responded to a survey about how often they visit amusement arcades with their children,  what games they play and what they spend

  • Over 75% of families have visited an arcade in the past year

  • Most of the popular and iconic arcade machines are category D gambling machines

  • Studies show links between regular arcade machine use as a child and gambling problems as an adult

  • Evidence of conditioning and advertising in arcade spaces designed for children are cause for concern

  • Online Bingo UK states that The UK Gambling Commission, British Amusement Catering Trade Association and House of Lords must work harder to protect children


A survey of UK parents, commissioned by Online Bingo UK, aims to find out how often British children visit arcades, what games they play and how much they are allowed to spend. The resulting report explores how the exposure of children to Category D gambling machines could be the cause of problems with gambling later in life.

The results of the survey show that 75% of UK parents have visited an amusement arcade with their children in the past year. It also shows that the majority of parents are happy for their children to play on machines like the 2p coin machines and claw grabbers and that the average annual arcade spend is £25 a year per family.

The report explains how these iconic arcade machines are actually a categorisation of gambling, regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. These “Category D” machines include 2p/10p coin push machines, claw grabbers and 10p slot machines. Also included are the newer string cutter/key master machines that simulate skill based games but are entirely based on luck, often with large prizes.

Based on the survey’s findings, Online Bingo UK has conducted further research into the link between arcades and gambling, and found studies that demonstrate how increased exposure to arcade machines could influence a person to develop a gambling addictions as an adult. These findings have been published in the report, with links to the individual studies included for further reading.

The report also includes evidence of direct gambling advertising in arcade spaces meant for children and families to enjoy, that Online Bingo UK finds to be unacceptable. This is part of a larger trend of conditioning and relaxed attitudes towards exposing children to gambling that the British Amusement Catering Trade Association (bacta) and the House of Lords deem to be a necessary evil to maintain seaside communities and businesses.

You can read the full report, along with a list of suggestions for changes the UK Gambling Commission, bacta and the House of Lords can make to protect children on Online Bingo UK.

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