New research published today reveals gamblers are at much greater risk of losing more of their money and are playing for a longer time on gaming machines in arcades than on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs). The independent research shatters claims that FOBTs with their higher stake sizes pose a greater risk to customers and is a major blow to critics who have suggested that setting lower stake limits for FOBTs would cut the risk of problem gambling.
The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) today welcomed the findings and challenged the vested interests in the arcade industry behind the campaign against FOBTs to come clean about the facts on machines in their own, less regulated venues. The arcade industry funded a report by the FOBT All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) that called for a lower stake limit on FOBTs. The report was condemned as “deeply flawed” by British bookmakers last week.
According to the evidence published today, the percentage of sessions on gaming machines lasting more than 2 hours were 67% higher in arcades than betting shops and returned much less money to players. The higher potential staking levels on FOBTs, relative to other gaming machines, are often cited as providing the potential for greater harm. But the evidence now shows that potential losses are actually a combination of staking level, speed of play and the proportion of stake returned to the player.
While betting shops have higher staking levels, the amount of money returned to the player is higher than in arcades.
The evidence also shows that any move to reduce stakes on FOBTs would be counter-productive and the introduction of stricter Government regulations on staking in 2015 lead to increased expenditure per session, average stakes and average session durations.
This is yet another piece of evidence that shows problem gambling is complex and that focusing on stake or a single class of venue is the wrong approach.
Commenting on the report, Chief Executive of the Association of British Bookmakers Malcolm George said:
The evidence exposes the findings of the FOBTs All-Party Parliamentary Group are simply wrong. The report sets out clear evidence that shows losses are higher in adult gaming centres than betting shops, and that the largest losses occur early in the morning on machines in arcades.
No wonder the vested interests who are behind the campaign against FOBTs wanted to distract attention from their own machines. It is time they stopped just making it up as they go along.”
*The evidence published by the Gambling Commission can be found here: http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/news-action-and-statistics/news/2017/New-data-to-inform-government-gambling-review.aspx
*To help the Gambling Commission develop their advice, they commissioned analysis of the relationship between problem gambling and the number of different gambling activities a person takes part in (gambling involvement) and obtained detailed data from operators about how consumers use category B2 and B3 gaming machines. The data cover nearly 20 billion plays on machines in licensed betting offices, and over 2 billion plays on machines in adult gaming centres and bingo venues.
*The highest hourly average Gross Win per session (player loss) figure of all venue types is between 9am and 10am in Adult Gaming Centres (£11.30).
*Overall Gross Win per Session (player loss) in AGCs is £9.82 vs £9.16 in an LBO – i.e. 66p per session (or 7%) higher.
*% of sessions lasting > 2 hours: Adult Gaming Centres (AGCs) – 0.45% Licensed Betting Offices (LBOs) – 0.27%. Relatively, this is 67% more sessions lasting > 2 hours in AGCs. % of sessions lasting > 1 hour: AGCs – 2.8% LBOs – 1.9%, relatively, this is 50% more sessions lasting > 1 hour in AGCs.