GambleAware calls for a cut in the maximum FOBT stakes

GambleAware calls for a cut in the maximum FOBT stakes

Thursday, January 25, 2018 Posted by Joseph Streeter
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There have been widespread news stories that the DCMS is on the verge of cutting the maximum stakes to £2

After reports last weekend claimed that the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) was set to slash the maximum stakes on FOBTs to just £2, GambleAware has voiced its support for a reduction on stake limits to help reduce overall losses.

This week, the DCMS concluded its 12-week consultation period which was undertaken to analyse future steps that need to be taken on FOBTs wagering and sector advertising standards. With confirmation of how much the stakes on the terminals incoming, GambleAware has emphasised that the issue of problem gambling needs “urgent attention".

Marc Etches, CEO of GambleAware, told “Gambling-related harm in Britain is a public health issue that needs urgent attention. With 430,000 problem gamblers and a further 2 million adults at risk of developing a problem, GambleAware is concerned about the impact this hidden addiction has on people’s lives. GambleAware supports a reduction on stake limits to help reduce overall losses, but factors such as speed of play and environment also need to be considered.

"A problem gambler may be gambling in up to seven different ways, and with everyone carrying a mobile phone in their pocket, we all have access a gambling machine, without a stake limit, anytime, anywhere. This is why we’d like to see a ban on the use of credit cards when gambling online.

“Too often gambling addiction goes unnoticed, and last year GambleAware treated 8,800 people; just 2% of those with a problem. Much more needs to be done to raise awareness of the risks of gambling and we believe advertisers, broadcasters, print and social media, professional sports, video gaming and gambling businesses all need to step up. We expect the same of the regulator, of government and of all those concerned for Britain’s public health and well-being.”

Also responding to the reports, Ladbrokes Coral CEO Jim Mullen warned: "Cuts will fail to adequately address any issue of problem gambling. The industry has also always made it clear that a cut to stakes will have serious consequences – resulting in shop closures which will ultimately affect jobs, tax revenue and the funding of racing.”

He added: “There is also no evidence that machine customers will switch their spend to sports betting such as horse racing, and our experience is that they won’t. Any policy made on this assumption would result in a significant reduction in the level of funding for horse racing.

“We will continue to make the case for a sensible measured, evidence led and proportionate response to the public concern regarding these issues and this will be the basis of the evidence submitted as part of the ongoing review.”

Totally Gaming says: Whilst the need for safeguarding the most vulnerable from potential problem gambling is of the highest importance, there is also a great necessity that whatever action is taken is done so based on evidence. Furthermore, it’s also worth considering the potential impact that such a drastic cut will have on the Horse Racing industry in the UK, which would miss out on a huge source of funding.

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