7 November 1997
Provisional Legislative Council
Panel on Broadcasting, Culture and Sport
Family Entertainment Centres
The purpose of this paper is to brief Members on the progress of developing a licensing framework for the establishment of Family Entertainment Centres (FECs) in Hong Kong.
2.FECs are a new breed of entertainment centres providing high quality and wholesome entertainment for the enjoyment of families and different age groups. These centres offer a variety of entertainment and games including conventional video games, mechanical rides, virtual-reality electronic games, and ancillary facilities such as play areas, food corners and souvenir shops.
3.In anticipation of the demand for FECs, Government undertook in the 1996 Policy Commitments to facilitate the development of high-quality family entertainment by developing a licensing framework for FECs. We have reviewed the Amusement Game Centres (AGCs) Ordinance with a view to exploring the feasibility of facilitating the early establishment of FECs within the existing legislative and licensing framework for AGCs. We came to a preliminary conclusion that it would be feasible to license FECs under the existing AGCs Ordinance. A proposed licensing framework for FECs was then drawn up in early 1997 for consultation with the trade.
4.The Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority then briefed the trade (AGC operators, other entertainment centre operators and potential FEC operators) on the broad framework of the proposed FEC scheme, including how FECs could be brought into early operation under the AGCs Ordinance. Potential FEC operators and other entertainment centre operators generally welcomed the development and early introduction of FECs in Hong Kong. The Licensed Amusement Game Centres Trade Association (LAGA), which represents some 65% of the AGC operators and whom we consulted, was supportive of the Government's initiative initially but subsequently decided to raise objections to the proposed scheme. Apart from making the comment that the introduction of FECs will increase competition and thus affect the business of AGCs, LAGA has requested Government to take into account their following views :
- there should be a separate legislation governing the licensing and operation of FECs in the long term; and
- FECs should be subject to the same licensing conditions applicable to AGCs in respect of age admission and location. At present, licences issued under the AGCs Ordinance are categorized either as children centres for persons below 16 or as adult centres for persons aged 16 and above. As for location, application for an AGC is not normally approved if it is within a radius of 100 metres of an education institution or if there already exists another AGC. This is to avoid undue concentration of centres.
5.In view of LAGA's objections and suggestions, the Government considers it prudent to re-examine the FEC proposal to address the trade's concerns. Once we have formulated detailed proposals on the licensing framework for the establishment of FECs in Hong Kong, we will conduct appropriate consultations and seek this Panel's views.
Broadcasting, Culture and Sport Bureau