Fears of far reaching and catastrophic effects on the computer games industry seem likely, as amusement arcades across the country face closure if the government make changes to the rules allowing children to use slot machines.

The Budd report was being discussed by MPs today, and recommended that children were banned from using slot machines where the stake was more than 10p, and that further changes to the rules should be made to machines with lower stakes in 2006.

At first this might not sound too bad, and indeed a wise move, as the UK is the only country to allow children to gamble, but we've spoken with Arcade owners who fear that the loss of business from families and children, especially sea-side arcades, would be catastrophic to their business and force them to close.

Where this does become more concerning for gamers is the fact that with amusement arcades closing, the arcade games would also go, causing widespread problems for the arcade game industry in the UK, and also having a direct effect on computer games in general.

The fear is that if under 18's become banned from using fruit machines, the arcades which have become both a well known sea-side feature, and also popular in towns across the country, would be forced to close due to them not making a profit. This would then lead on to the Arcade business not having as many arcade cabinets purchased as the arcades wouldn't exist, and would have a direct knock-on effect to the arcade market who wouldn't want to invest in making games - the very same companies who make arcade conversions for consoles in our homes.

Anti Gambling campaigners say that they want the recommendations to be followed due to the large number of under 25's who have gambling addictions in the UK, and feel that rules should be bought in to line with other countries where such gambling is banned.

If the plans which have been suggested go ahead, then the effect on computer gaming could be untold and widespread, and it appears that the government hasn't considered the indirect effects which banning under 18's from using slot machines could have - we'll be keeping a close and cautious eye on what they decide, and hope that they don't gamble with the future of gaming, as it could be devastating if they do.