Concern over Jersey thrift club licence changes

Jersey money
Image caption Hundreds of islanders are members of thrift clubs to save money for Christmas

Changes to the licence needed for thrift clubs has caused concerns says Jersey's Gambling Commission.

Under a law which came into force on 1 January, the savings clubs now need to pay up to £150 a year to run games such as football cards.

Jason Lane, the chief executive of the Gambling Commission, said the changes had come as a surprise to some.

In response a free, three-month general licence has been issued to cover all thrift clubs on the island.

Mr Lane said he was inviting clubs to contact him in the meantime to discuss their concerns.

'Very sorry'

He said: "I'm quite happy to put my hands up and say this has been dealt with a bit too quickly and I'm very sorry about that.

"We have been forced by the way the law has come in."

Hundreds of people in Jersey are members of thrift clubs, putting money aside each week for it to be paid out later, usually just before Christmas.

During the year the clubs run gambling games such as football cards.

But Mr Lane said it was against the law to run these games if they were open to the public and not just for members of the club.

He said there had been confusion and apprehension as a result and five clubs had contacted his department so far.

He said: "What we are interested in is making sure there is proper public protection in place, people are keeping proper records and people know what is being offered is fair.

"We are not in any way trying to put pressure on thrift clubs or get them to close."

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