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MPs present community award to West Sussex resident

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Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert and Worthing West MP Sir Peter Bottomley presented an award to Findon resident Phil Silver for services to the gaming and amusement industry on Friday (18 May).

Phil has worked for over 30 years in the amusement arcade industry and has extended his work to counsel those with gambling addictions.  BACTA, the amusement industry’s trade association, marked Phil’s dedication with a special Community Award which was presented at a ceremony in one of Worthing’s seafront arcades.

The presentation ceremony was also attended by Phil’s wife Gillian, John White, Chief Executive of BACTA, and members of the industry.

Phil previously worked with the Metropolitan Police before taking on a very different role as Head of Compliance at BACTA.  He has made a leading contribution to the development of a social responsibility culture in Britain’s gaming centres and an industry-wide Code of Practice.

Through his work, Phil saw the effects of gambling addiction and became a volunteer advisor with GamCare, the charity who run the National Gambling Helpline.  He is now a Patron of the Gordon Moody Association, a registered charity providing residential support and treatment for those with severe gambling addictions.

Despite being officially retired, Phil continues to provide his support and expertise to the gaming machine industry.

Last Thursday (17 May) the Government announced new legislation to reduce the minimum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs).  The maximum stake will be reduced from £100 to £2, a decision that BACTA and the industry have welcomed after campaigning for the change.

John White, CEO of BACTA, said: “We warmly welcome this announcement.  A stake reduction to £2 has long been needed to protect consumers from the harm caused by FBOTs.  This is a decision that puts player protection first and will allow the gambling industry as a whole to move forwards and create a safer, more socially responsible environment for consumers.”

He added: “It was very kind of Nick Herbert and his fellow MP, Sir Peter Bottomley to present BACTA’s Community Award to constituent and Findon resident, Phil Silver.  Nick’s attendance acknowledged Phil’s contribution to the amusement machine industry over a thirty-year career and his support for problem and at-risk gamblers via charities GamCare and the Gordon Moody Association.  I would personally like to thank Nick for taking the time out of his busy schedule to present this Award.”

Phil Silver said: “I am delighted to receive this award which marks the end of my long career with BACTA. Members of the trade association understand that it’s not enough to simply support social responsibility and customer protection, businesses have to demonstrate it.  We have undertaken some pioneering work and I’m extremely proud that I was able to make a small contribution to the massive issue of social responsibility in gaming.”

Mr Herbert said: “It was a pleasure to meet Phil and to present him with his special award.  He is clearly passionate about his work and achievements and cares about the industry and customers alike.

“The award was very timely given the Government’s announcement on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals.  I welcome these steps to tackle problem gambling which has clearly been very harmful, and I am delighted that Phil’s tireless work to encourage responsible gambling and help tackle addiction has been recognised.”