Campaign cautions against claims that £2 cap is “ineffective”

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The Campaign for Fairer Gambling has criticised claims by Featurespace, the behavioural analytics company which conducted FOBT research on behalf of the Responsible Gambling Trust (RGT).

Featuresapace’s founder, David Excell, has stated that the £2 cap on FOBTs has been seen as the “silver bullet” to alleviate FOBT problem gambling, but that his research has shown the cap to be an “ineffective” solution.

Responding to this claim, a Campaign spokesperson said: “The RGT research, published today, includes the claim that a reduction of stake size will not decrease rates of gambling harm. There is of course no empirical evidence to support this conclusion as there has been no effort to impose a stake reduction and monitor the results, a limitation which the authors fail to identify.“These claims are outside of Mr Excell’s remit and he should not be making comments which advise government policy on matters which are outside of his research scope.

“Featurespace is a commercial enterprise offering the possibility of software algorithms to predict harmful gambling behaviour. If stake limitation was enacted and did in fact result in a reduction in gambling harm, which the Campaign predicts it would, then the Featurespace software has less commercial value. It is unfortunate that the RGT chose Featurespace as a research party, as inevitably this compromises the perception of the integrity of the research.

“The Campaign has never stated that a reduction to £2 is a “silver bullet” – but we do maintain that is the most effective single step to combat FOBT problem gambling. If a stake reduction to £2 was imposed today nobody could argue that this measure would not help prevent future harm to young and vulnerable persons. In the very least it would have more effect than the alternative – doing nothing.”

For more information about the Campaign for Fairer Gambling and its Stop the FOBTs campaign, please visit www.fairergambling.org / www.stopthefobts.org

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