Report links LBO concentration with problem gambling

Report links LBO concentration with problem gambling

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 Totally Gaming
The Responsible Gambling Trust has published a number of new studies

Rates of problem gambling are higher among people who live near ‘clusters’ of bookmakers, according to a new study published by the Responsible Gambling Trust (RGT) charity.

The report, produced by Geofutures and funded by the RGT, found that “spatial configuration of LBOs with B2 machines, also known as fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), is related to levels of problem gambling”.

Geofutures said this is the first definitive evidence that problem gambling rates among machine players vary according to whether someone lives in proximity to a concentration of LBOs. However, it added that these patterns and statistics “can indicate correlation, but they cannot determine causation”.

“Our research has shown that the spatial configuration of LBOs with B2 machines is related to levels of problem gambling,” said Gaynor Astbury, lead researcher from Geofutures. “Problem gambling prevalence rates were higher among those living in areas of higher density LBO concentrations.

“However, we cannot say that these concentrations cause problem gambling. When thinking about these areas, we suggest there is a need to consider local population characteristics to help understand this trend.”

The RGT has also published new reports by NatCen Social Research and Featurespace, which suggest problem gamblers are more likely to place a maximum £100 (€131/$146) stake on FOBTs than non-problem gamblers. 

The study, based on a survey of more than 4,000 machine gamblers, said there is a correlation between certain “at-risk groups”, such as minority ethnic groups and the unemployed, and the use of the maximum stake. The study also, perhaps surprisingly, found that problem gamblers are likely to win more often and have a higher average return on money spent.

“The RGT’s focus is not just about funding treatment – it’s about preventing the harm and misery caused by problem gambling,” said Marc Etches, chief executive of the RGT. “This research deepens our understanding of problem gambling, specifically associated with regular users of B2 and B3 gaming machines.

“This research poses some challenging questions for the bookmaking industry, for regulators and for Ministers, on the effect of clustering and the maximum stakes on FOBTs in particular. However, it also reinforces our belief that we need to tackle all forms of gambling-related harm – rather than focus on one narrow category or location.”

TotallyGaming.com says: “It is vital that funds and resources are put towards the study of problem gambling. Senior figures from the industry have made it clear that they consider social responsibility to be a priority, and learning more the issues that need to be tackled must be seen as progress.”  

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