Following the release of the consultation on proposals for changes to Gaming Machines and Social Responsibility Measures by DCMS this morning, spokesperson for Fairer Gambling said:
“We welcome the next stage of the government’s review of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, social responsibility and advertising. The options indicate that the government will consider reducing the maximum stake on FOBTs to £2 a spin. We are confident that, when all the evidence has been considered, £2 will be judged to be the most appropriate level.”
Following the tragic case earlier this year in Warwickshire, where a woman was raped assaulted and almost killed by two men whilst working alone at a bookmakers, MP Graham Jones voices his concerns in a letter to the Association of British Bookmakers.
We were recently contacted by Graham (not his real name), aged 47 from London, who shared with us his personal experience of fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs). Stories such as Graham’s are vital to ensuring that our campaign keeps its momentum by highlighting the very real problems caused by FOBTs in their current state of regulation.
When the new Association of British Bookmakers CEO, Malcolm George, offered “greater engagement and transparency” to Labour’s Graham Jones MP earlier this year and invited him to visit bookmakers in his Lancashire constituency, Mr Jones was keen to set the record straight on FOBTs and stress that there were no “misconceptions” or “misunderstandings” around the betting industry or FOBTs. Read Graham Jones MP’s full letter of response to Malcolm George here: Graham Jones MP letter to ABB.
The letter attracted coverage in the Sunday People, another long term supporter of the campaign to reduce FOBT stakes from £100 to £2 per spin.
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.